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Phil Mickelson now sets his sites on the U.S. Open


Golf has been staging main championships since 1860, but simply 33 occasions has somebody gained consecutive majors. One of these got here courtesy of Phil Mickelson, who adopted a 2005 PGA Championship triumph with a victory at the 2006 Masters.

The rarity of the feat alone ought to preserve Phil from being a favourite to duplicate Sunday’s PGA Championship triumph subsequent month when the U.S. Open tees off at Torrey Pines. (BetMGM has him at +5,000. Twenty-one golfers have higher odds to win).

Stringing collectively back-to-back close to good performances whereas having fun with the requisite {golfing} luck (and no matter dangerous fortune hits everybody else) is almost unattainable, even for the biggest of all time whereas they have been of their prime. Then once more, that is Phil, a person who has by no means executed something in line with conference. Until Sunday, when he cruised to his sixth main championship by two strokes, no 50-year-old had ever gained a significant.

So who is aware of, proper?

“It’s very possible that this is the last tournament I ever win,” Mickelson mentioned from Kiawah Island, S.C. “Like, if I’m being realistic. But it’s also very possible that I may have had a little bit of a breakthrough in some of my focus and maybe I go on a little bit of a run, I don’t know.

“The point is that there’s no reason why I or anybody else can’t do it at a later age,” he continued. “It just takes a little bit more work.”

Mickelson has been placing in the work. He mentioned he sacrificed “food” to win one other main — his dedication to food regimen and health has reenergized his physique. He’s a lot sturdy sufficient, particularly when the adrenaline is pumping.

This wasn’t some artful outdated man successful by way of guile and a brief recreation. He averaged 316.3 yards off the tee at the PGA, simply above the 313.1 common for the area.

On the back-nine Sunday, when he ought to have been his most fatigued, he hammered a 337-yard drive on 15 that rolled previous enjoying associate Brooks Koepka, who is almost twenty years his junior. Then on 16, he wailed one 366 yards, the longest by anybody all week.

“Those were really good swings,” Mickelson mentioned.

KIAWAH ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA - MAY 23: Phil Mickelson of the United States celebrates with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the final round of the 2021 PGA Championship held at the Ocean Course of Kiawah Island Golf Resort on May 23, 2021 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/PGA of America/PGA of America via Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson celebrates with the Wanamaker Trophy after successful the 2021 PGA Championship held at the Ocean Course of Kiawah Island Golf Resort. (Maddie Meyer/PGA of America/PGA of America by way of Getty Images)

If something, his drawback Sunday was hitting it too far and discovering himself arrange behind the greens. Mickelson cited his dedication to health, the teaching of Andrew Getson and the sizzling membership faces of immediately’s golf equipment for serving to him. Couple that with his famed chipping and placing and right here you go.

“There’s no reason why the game of golf can’t be the game for a lifetime,” Mickelson mentioned. “And if you take care of your body and do it the right way, and now with the exercise physiology and technology that’s out there like with TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) and everything, that you can work out the right way to get your body to function right and play golf for a lifetime.”

But are you able to win one other main, not to mention the one main (the U.S. Open) which could imply extra to Phil than another?

The U.S. Open is at Torrey Pines, in his hometown of San Diego, which he’s at all times proudly repped. And whereas he thought he is likely to be adequate to win the PGA — and the 2021 Masters earlier than it — a few of what he’s been as much as has been targeted on constructing towards this.

He’s gained 3 times at Torrey throughout common Tour stops, but it surely’s been awhile — 1993, 2000 and 2001. He completed T53, some 15 photographs off the lead, at the Farmers Insurance Open performed there in January.

He’s a special participant now, although. He cites his means to “elongate his focus” of late to with the ability to stand as much as the psychological drain of championship caliber golf. Especially in majors, the have to focus on each shot for 4 days is paramount. One mistake can doom you.

Mickelson repeatedly performed 36 and typically 45 holes a day in the run as much as the PGA Championship so 18 wouldn’t appear so daunting. Phil was extraordinarily purposeful at the PGA, making sluggish, well-thought out strategic choices and even strolling with a relaxed tempo.

“Just the ability to kind of quiet my mind and get rid of all the exterior noise,” Mickelson mentioned.

What transpired at Kiawah Island needs to be seen as an excellent, late-career curtain name that nobody noticed coming and will by no means be assumed potential. Mickelson has at all times been considerably of a streak shooter, although. When he’s on his recreation, he’s actually on it.

His earlier 5 majors have been adopted by 4 extraordinarily sturdy performances, together with that 2005-2006 PGA/Masters double dip. He additionally, following main victories, completed 2nd at the 2004 U.S. Open, T-2 at the 2006 U.S. Open and T4 at the 2010 Masters. He adopted his 2013 British victory with a T73 at the PGA.

So now comes the U.S. Open — the solely main he is by no means gained — and Mickelson promising to arrange even more durable for this than the PGA. He understands the stakes — Torrey isn’t slated to host one other main till 2027 at the earliest. And he understands Father Time at all times wins in the finish.

It’s simply how lengthy are you able to fend him off?

“I do believe that if I stay sharp mentally I can play well at Torrey Pines,” Mickelson mentioned. “I’ll take two weeks off before that and go out to Torrey and spend time, spend time on the greens and really try to be sharp for that week because I know that I’m playing well and this could very well be my last really good opportunity … to win a U.S. Open.

“So I’m going to put everything I have into it.”

If so, nicely, in case you thought the followers rooting for Phil in South Carolina have been wild, wait till he’s enjoying a house recreation.

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