With the PGA Championship's return to Baltusrol, the spotlight will be on the course's defending champion, Phil Mickelson (Jason Day is of course the actual title defender).
In an unusually candid as-told-to with Mark Cannizzaro, Mickelson mentions the role of Baltusrol retiring pro Doug Steffen in helping him learn the green, Joe's Pizza for his favorite local pie, Wednesday golf at Pine Valley again with Jerry Tarde and other fun insights.
But for those wanting to know how the Open Championship runner-up plans to attack the course, Mickelson admits to a big change in approach worth noting.
I have to play it shorter off the tee and straighter and then more aggressive into the greens. A lot of times before, I couldn’t be aggressive into the greens because I was in trouble. But I could get away with that because my length off the tee was more of an advantage than it is now.
Now I have to be more conservative off the tee so I can then be more aggressive into the greens. You have to adapt as a player. During my 30s, length was key for me and there wasn’t as much rough as there is today and I was pretty wild. One of the things I’ve had to do as a player is adapt and become more consistent off the tee, and I’m in the process of that right now.
My anticipation of playing Baltusrol this time around is going to be much more methodical. I can’t overpower a golf course like Bubba Watson or Dustin Johnson. I’m going to give up strokes off the tee to them. Dustin gains 2 ¹/₂ strokes on the field. So I have to make up three shots elsewhere — chipping, putting, iron shots, whatever.