Professional / Euro Tour

‘Inconsistent’ Phil Mickelson seeks to summon magic of 2013 visit to Scotland

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson (Ryan Young/PGA Tour)

INVERNESS, Scotland – Phil Mickelson may be playing some of the best golf of his career, but his results are, in a word, “inconsistent.”

That was the verdict by the six-time major winner as he hopes to replicate his accomplishment from 2013: winning the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart and then the next week’s British Open, which was his only Claret Jug, at Muirfield.

Mickelson, 46, has played in 65 events since hoisting the Claret Jug. The consecutive victories propelled him into second in the world rankings, and he was poised to get to the top of the list for the first time of his career.

Instead, the victory at Muirfield was his 42nd on Tour and most recent. He remains uncertain as to why it has taken him so long to return to the winner’s circle.

“I’ve had such an inconsistent year,” Mickelson said Wednesday at Castle Stuart, site of this week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. “I’ve had some really good finishes and some missed cuts, which I usually have not had that type of fluctuation.”

Mickelson owns five top-10s in 16 starts, including runners-up at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the FedEx St. Jude Classic but five missed cuts, including the season’s first two major championships, the Masters and U.S. Open.

“I feel that after six months now of really working hard on my swing, I feel like the swing is where I want it and I can take that final step of trying to score and shoot a number and hit intricate shots and get those little details of flying a ball a couple yards different shorter or longer than I want to and things like that,” he said. “I think that that’s starting to come.”

Other than off the tee, Mickelson stands among the top 21 in every strokes-gained statistical category on the PGA Tour. He ranks fourth in stroke-gained putting and strokes-gained total.

He ranks fifth in scoring average, at 69.587 strokes per round, his best standing in that category since 2008.

In 2004 at Royal Troon, Mickelson placed third, his first top-10 finish in the British Open and just one shot shy of the playoff between Ernie Els and eventual winner Todd Hamilton.

Twelve years later, Mickelson looks for similar relevance in the 145th edition of golf’s oldest major championship.

“It’s hard to say when it’s going to all click,” Mickelson said. “I hope it clicks this week. I don’t feel like it’s far off, but I’ve been saying that for a while… But I feel confident with my game, but I also need to start getting the results.”

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