DORAL, Fla. – Phil Mickelson’s heart is still being tugged away from golf more than those outside his camp realize.
He hasn’t fully thrown himself into his game yet this season with much of his attention still devoted to the progress his wife, Amy, and mother, Mary, are making in their recoveries from breast cancer.
That's the word from Butch Harmon, Mickelson’s swing coach, who saw the pull on his pupil’s focus during the West Coast Swing.
Harmon was on the driving range Wednesday at the WGC-CA Championship and so was Mickelson’s caddie, Jim Mackay, but Mickelson isn’t expected to arrive until later tonight. Mickelson is forgoing a practice round before beginning defense of his title here Thursday to spend more time with his family. He accompanied Amy on a trip to Houston for treatment at the MD Anderson Cancer Center last week.
“The treatment is going well, but it takes its toll, the reconstructive surgery takes its toll,” Harmon said. “There are things going on in Phil’s life right now that are more important than golf. That’s the way it should be. You’ve seen that in his golf game. He hasn’t been as sharp as we anticipated with the offseason work. Until Amy’s better, she’s going to be his focus.”
After winning the Tour Championship and the HSBC Champions at the end of last season, expectations soared for Mickelson coming into this year. He’s off to a sluggish start, though, with one top-10 finish in four events, his worst West Coast Swing performance in a decade.
Harmon said he believes Mickelson will commit to the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Shell Houston Open to hone his game before the Masters.
“He needs to play,” Harmon said when asked if Mickelson will be prepared to win the Masters in five weeks. 'He feels good about what he’s doing. It’s just a matter of getting your mind 100 percent on it, which is not easy to do.”