SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – The PGA Championship didn’t turn out as he had hoped but Phil Mickelson still left Baltusrol “excited” about where his game is.
So excited, in fact, that he is putting renewed emphasis on the upcoming FedExCup Playoffs and the Ryder Cup, where Mickelson will represent the United States for the 11th time.
So after playing two major championships in 21 days, the 46-year-old plans to take the next three weeks off before heading to one of his favorite spots, Bethpage Black, to tee it up at The Barclays.
“That’s a good stretch of golf of those four Playoff events and the Ryder Cup,” Mickelson, who ranks sixth in the FedExCup, said. “I’m looking forward to those five events.”
The popular lefthander said he hasn’t had a three-week summer break in two decades. Mickelson expects to take the first week completely off before hitting the range hard the last two.
Mickelson’s renewed enthusiasm for the game is a product of the work he’s been doing on his swing with Andrew Getson. While he hasn’t won since the 2013 Open Championship, Mickelson has three seconds among six top-five finishes this year.
The most recent runner-up came at Royal Troon in The Open Championship where Mickelson and Henrik Stenson engaged in a thrilling final-round duel. Mickelson, who had lipped out a putt for a major-championship record 62 in the first round, closed with a bogey-free 65 but was beaten by Stenson’s 63.
“Certainly the play this year at the British tells me that I’m able to play at a high level,” said Mickelson, whose 72-hole total of 17 under would have won 141 other Open Championships.
“I’m starting to see my game come back. I’m starting to hit the shots again, what I’m visualizing, what I’m seeing and doing it with ease now.”
That said, Mickelson has also found himself trying to force the issue rather than playing the way he knows he can.
“I have to work on that for these coming FedExCup events,” Mickelson said.
If Mickelson doesn’t end the three-year drought with his 43rd PGA TOUR victory, he’d be disappointed but he’s not prepared to call the season a failure. Besides, there are still four events remaining for him to make a run.
“It seems as though my love for the game and desire is as strong as it’s ever been,” Mickelson said. “It’s taken me a year to get my game back after two and a half years of really struggling.
“The only thing that’s missing is the final result, but it’s been very close.”