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Shane Bacon

With a bad draw, Phil Mickelson struggles at St. Andrews

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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There are a few things that just don't go together. Red meat and diets, cell phones and church, and athletes and celibacy.

Another you could add to that list is Phil Mickelson and the British Open. On Thursday at the Open, it was more Mother Nature than Mickelson, but Lefty completed his round in 1-over 73 when it seemed every other big name in the field was going low.

Phil is 10 shots back of the leader. He knows that he will need some luck (read: bad weather for the afternoon guys on Friday) in the second round to have a chance at making up ground, and he openly admitted after the round that seeing some of the low scores and calm weather early on Thursday affected him.

It's a weird thing with Phil and the British. A friend asked me on Thursday, before Phil even teed off, why Mickelson struggled at this tournament. I gave him some answer about Phil always wanting to take pitch shots high, and never really perfecting the bump and run that is much needed around St. Andrews.

The problem is, he has as much talent in his little finger as most of these guys have in their entire arsenal, and creativity is what he banks on. It's just ... Phil can't do it on these championship courses. This is a man that only has one top 10 in his career at the British. He finished tied for 11th once at St. Andrews, but hasn't given himself any other chance on this course.

Also, it takes a lot of luck that one can't control, like Thursday with Phil's tee time. If he goes out early, with his aggressive nature and ability to get the ball close with his wedges, we might be writing about his 64 or 65. Now, it's a 73, and a mile away from anything resembling a leaderboard.

For Phil, the years are dwindling away at a chance to take home the Claret Jug. It just seems that there will never be a week when he gets off the airplane in Scotland and is the favorite.

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