CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As Phil Mickelson walked to the 16th tee box at Quail Hollow on Thursday he took slow, deep breaths and measured steps, like one does before his final push to the summit of K2. For Lefty, Round 1 was a familiar climb.
“I’m 2-for-2 when I’ve fainted and woken up in a pool of my own vomit,” Mickelson said, only half joking.
As a general rule, Mickelson is at his best when he’s trying what appears to other golfers to be an impossible shot or when he’s slowed by food poisoning, which hit Lefty again Wednesday and forced him to withdraw six holes into his pro-am round.
Shortly after his WD Mickelson visited an on-sight medical center at Quail Hollow and was pumped full of 2 ½ bags of IV solution, and for the better part of 15 holes he was fine.
“Walking up that hill (at the 15th, which he birdied) I wanted to get in,” said Mickelson, who carded an opening 2-under 70 after bogeys at Nos. 17 and 18 and was five strokes behind leader Bo Van Pelt.
Mickelson had a similar incident on the eve of the final round last year at the WGC-CA Championship and in 2001 at Torrey Pines. He won both events.
“I’ve had some good omens when I haven’t felt good,” he said. “It seems to slow me down.”