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Phil: I'm Going To Win One, Maybe Two U.S. Opens

Rick Reilly visits Phil Mickelson in Rancho Santa Fe and while the attention will go to Phil's predictions of U.S. Open wins and the next five years ("The next five years are going to be the best of my career"), Reilly totally buries the lede: Amy just hit the five year mark of living cancer free.

But here's the quote that will get some attention considering he's been battling a back issue this year:

"My body isn't beat up like a lot of guys. My swing isn't like Tiger's, or Jason Day's, Dustin Johnson's, even Hunter Mahan's. I don't have a really fast golf swing that has a lot of viciousness, a lot of fierceness, where the torque and power that's released is hard on the knees, the back. My swing is big and long and has a wide, wide arc. That doesn't put any pressure on my body ... I'm like a kicker in the NFL. I'm not beat up. I can keep playing at a high level for a long time."

There are other nuggets too about his golf cart (satellite dish) and practice area (room to hit 450 yard drives, four chipping greens). No mention of moving.

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Reader Comments (24)

Not just a back issue he has been battling....Please golf media please look deeper.

His big long wide arc of his swing has been a huge cause of his driving issues for years yet he never gets grilled on it. Why is that?

How about his psoriatic arthritis? It doesn't go away. It gets worse continually and harder to handle with age. Enbrel ad$ be damned.

How about his putting getting worse? How about his non putting short game continuing to get worse?

How about his accuracy off the continuing to get worse? (It has never improved under Butch despite all the spin)

While he can has been able to win out of nowhere in the past the numbers at his age don't lie. His best years are past him. He is not getting better and will not win as frequently. No shame in that at his age in golf.

Phil has been an absurd credit to the game in his era (2nd or 3rd best in his era based on how one judges) but he never gets asked many of the tough questions by the press as others have.

God bless Amy and his mom getting the better of cancer to this point. Having lost 7 people in my family in the last 15 years to cancer I am glad he has not had to deal with that side of the disease. That might be his most important victories ever.

Majors of importance (so to speak) that can not be measured by a W.
05.24.2014 | Unregistered CommenterOWGR Fan
'Fickle' has as good a chance as anyone of winning at Pinehurst in a couple of weeks.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
Five years disease free from breast cancer is big. Ten is huge, makes the status of the other breast the bigger concern. Congratulations to Amy Mickelson.

Regarding Phil's swing I agree it's a big arc, but in my view (eyeball test, no objective measure) he swings hard.
Like pitching in baseball the golf swing is not a normal physical motion. And in the 40s all kinds of orthopedic problems are more likely to surface, not to mention unexpected medical issues unrelated to playing golf, similar to the psoriatric arthritis he already has.

I've always liked Phil Mickelson. He's got a great attitude. He could win a US Open, but if offered a wager I would bet against it - I would take the field . . . and be very pleased to lose the bet.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane
Never hurts to have a positive attitude. Hope he is right.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered CommenterNo Longer
Amy Mickelson might be the very best golf wife, ever!

I think she wins by a hair over Barbara, Valerie and Peggy. Can't comment on Mrs. Jones.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered CommenterGreg V
The trouble is that he is human and subject to the same standard normal distribution of age and wins (bell curve) that affects all golfers at the major championship level. At this stage, each year will get noticeably harder for Phil because of a combination of his getting older and emerging younger competition.

Occasionally there is an exception (a win that comes out of nowhere). But the exception proves the rule.

The odds are sobering with respect to any chance that the next stretch will be the best of his career. There have probably been 50,000 golfers who had, during their career, the raw talent at any one time to win a major championship since the birth of the British Open, and not a single one has gone on the best stretch of their career leading to a major starting from Phil's current age. Barring the emergence of something like the Black Plague which wipes out all the emerging young talent in the world of golf, Phil has virtually no chance of going on the best stretch of this career. Sorry Phil.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer
And, @Greg V, Amanda Dufner is the best looking WAG in the history of golf - so much so that I would award her with the title of the Best Ever based on that technicality alone! (Who knows if she's the prudent choice, but she'd be my choice)
05.25.2014 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer
Think Phil likely sees his swing as similar to Watsons so he tells himself he has many chances left.
May be right...who knows?
05.25.2014 | Unregistered Commenterjjshaka
I rather doubt it.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
Figjam has the confidence of a young Patrick Reed and/or Michelle Wei.
He really is that good (just ask me)
Reilly has sure been heaping praise on Phil in his recent book tour/farewell columns for ESPN. Phil recently gave Reilly an extremely rare 1 on 1 interview. Hmmmmmm
05.25.2014 | Unregistered Commenterelf
This thing writes itself. Phil is the clear favorite at Pinehurst.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered Commenterhighside
We are more likely to hear "FORE LEFT" than Phil as national champion.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarshal
I usually like, as my clear favorite, players who have some recent Top-10 finishes.

That said, Cabrera and McDowell had similar year-to-date stats before they won their USOpens.

2006 : Geoff Ogilvy : 5 : 1 : 3 : 9
2007 : Angel Cabrera : 154 : 0 : 0 : 2
2008 : Tiger Woods : 1 : 3 : 5 : 5
2009 : Lucas Glover : 33 : 0 : 2 : 5
2010 : Graeme McDowell : 139 : 0 : 1 : 1
2011 : Rory Mcilroy : 87 : 0 : 2 : 4
2012 : Webb Simpson : 35 : 0 : 4 : 5
2013 : Justin Rose : 26 : 0 : 4 : 7
2014ytd : Phil Mickelson : 94 : 0 : 0 : 6

(Fields above are: Year : Player : MoneyListRank : Wins : top10s : top25s)

Mickelson should probably NOT be given credit for two of those top25s as they occurred in calendar-year 2013 and the other players listed did not have the same opportunity as their seasons began in January.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
This focus on Top 10's is a little silly. So if somebody makes a bogey ahead of Phil at Quail, he finishes Top ten instead of Top 11. What difference does that make in anything ? At this point last year, Phil had not really done much better than this right now. He won in Phoenix early on in 2013, but really he should have won in Abu Dhabi, except for a pretty bad break in a desert bush. Last year he was awful in the Masters and MC at the Players. Within a certain circle of top players, I'd say top 30 or 40, literally anyone can win week to week. Make it a Major at a tough course, and you are down to 25 or so. The next two weeks will be indicative, but I'd say he has as good a chance of any of the top 10 or so guys at Pinehurst.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Pinehurst is not the Fed Ex St. Jude Modified Stableford Scoring System Open. Class is going to prevail. Rory, Phil, Furyk, etc.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered Commenterhighside
'Clear favorite'
'has as good a chance as any of the top 10 or so guys'

To me, there's a large difference between those descriptions of PM's chances. I still by my disagreement of him as a clear favorite.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
@ highside - Class to prevail... are you sure Furyk is in that group. After hooking away a major a few years ago, I don't think he's still got it; maybe a Ryder Cup swan song, but I don't see much else in his future. Happy to be wrong, but just as the Americans seemed to own the British Open for a while, the Brits / Euros are setting up camp at the US Open. Phil at the US Open is a little like Nicklaus at the Canadian Open - 8 second place finishes; no wins. We shall see.
@ highside - Class to prevail... are you sure Furyk is in that group. After hooking away a major a few years ago, I don't think he's still got it; maybe a Ryder Cup swan song, but I don't see much else in his future. Happy to be wrong, but just as the Americans seemed to own the British Open for a while, the Brits / Euros are setting up camp at the US Open. Phil at the US Open is a little like Nicklaus at the Canadian Open - 8 second place finishes; no wins. We shall see.
And, didn't Mickelson himself say something similar to BrianS in that only a small number of people could win the 2014 Masters because of the difficult setup? Someone should, apparently, have asked him if he was including himself.

Last year pre-B.O. he had a 3rd, and a couple of T2s (one at the U.S. Open) so I would argue that his form going into that major was far superior to his form this year.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
Tim and Carl--Who do you like?
05.25.2014 | Unregistered Commenterhighside
Well, I wish him the best, and to Amy- keep up the smiles- you light up the place.

I would love to see Phil go to the Harvey P-. die it in the hole method of putting- he has never been afraid of trying new ways of putting, but the ball simply goes in more when it is on a slow roll at the hole. I also wonder if his dominant eye may e messing with his reads- ryes are noted for changing in the 38-45 age 1-reading glasses, etc) and he may be needing to reevaluate his reads.method.

Another thing is Arthritus meds are notorious for beng great and then losing their effectveness as your body gets used to it, I have a list of meds that were wonderful for 3 month to 2 years, and then they just did nothing anymore, and other A. sufferers have told me the same thing.

Anyway, Phil, if you read this give me a call when you have a few minutes to BS. I know your time is stacked, and you know when that is.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Who do I like as a 'clear favorite'? No one.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
Highside, would that be class like Michael Campbell? That is REAL class.
05.25.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDa Donald

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