Describing the Ryder Cup – and its sobering aftermath – as “one of the biggest lows of my career,” Phil Mickelson said Tuesday in China that he was buoyed by his performance at Medinah and now “has this new kind of excitement and energy.”
First, the Ryder Cup. Much-maligned for his abysmal record in the past, Mickelson was one of the U.S. team’s pleasant surprises at Medinah, compiling a 3-0 record in team play with rookie partner Keegan Bradley. Citing fatigue, Lefty controversially sat out during Saturday fourballs, and a day later he lost a heartbreaking singles match to Justin Rose – one of the most crucial points in Europe’s record-breaking comeback.
“I think the first two weeks following the Ryder Cup was a really tough low – one of the biggest lows of my career,” Mickelson told reporters Tuesday at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, his first event since the Ryder Cup. “It was a very emotional time, because we really thought we were going to win. I think that the disappointment will last a lot longer than a month. ...
“Looking back, there was some good that came from it in that I had a great couple of days playing with Keegan as a partner. I saw some things where I can improve my game, and I have this new kind of excitement and energy that Keegan has, and it’s rubbed off on me and I am excited to play and work and practice.”
Mickelson, 42, has good vibes at this event, having won the HSBC twice in the past six years (2007, ’09). This year, though, the tournament has moved from Sheshan International Golf Club to the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills, in Dongguan, China.