Mickelson high on Dustin Johnsons game


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Phil Mickelson’s birdie at his final hole of the day allowed him to clip his new pal Dustin Johnson by a shot in the first round of The Players Championship, but Mickelson had high praise for the up-and-coming young star.

“I think he’s one of the premier talents we have on Tour,” said Mickelson, who shot 2-under-par 70 to open at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course. “He hits the ball as long and as straight as anybody I’ve seen, and he’s got a lot of guts. He likes to go at pins, and he tries to win golf tournaments.”

Sounds like a young Mickelson.

“He’s a very good putter and great short game,” Mickelson said. “I don’t see any deficiencies in his game.”

Johnson, 25, a three-time PGA Tour winner, began working with Butch Harmon as his swing coach last week. Mickelson steered Johnson to seek out Harmon's help.