Phil Mickelson's Opportunity
Phil has a brilliant short game. When he played the Atlanta Athletic Club in 2006, I walked the course with him. He sees the arc of the ball as a three dimensional puzzle - threading through camera stands, over tree limbs, and spinning back to the hole. I saw him hit an iron so pure it ricocheted off the flagstick. I saw him aim a five iron through the top of an oak tree. His golf game is brilliant.
But his driver was wild. I saw him miss fairways right and more often, left. The punishing rough of the US Open and of the courses that comprise the British Open can take its toll on such a golfer. Not so this year. Mickelson's driver cuts the middle of the fairway - perhaps not as long but straight and yielding a good lie. And that means more greens in regulation.
And for this writer, it means the possibility that the four majors will fall this year to Phil. Somehow, the Masters seems to stand as a test of skill and - unlike the others - focus. Phil will be in the hunt for the Majors this year. His wife will recover. His mother will recover. And he will realize that he won a major while he was caring for them. The gloves will come off.