Phil Mickelson — Getty ImagesPhil Mickelson's win at the Waste Management this weekend was incredible. From start to finish he seemed dialed in unlike anything we've ever seen with the lefty, and it definitely means things could be on the up-and-up for Mickelson who had an off year a season ago. So what did we learn from Phil's win? Here we go.
5.) When Phil Mickelson is comfortable with a driver, look out -- It might seem ridiculous to think that a 42-year-old man is still completely obsessed with distance, but men are men and we want to hit the ball far, far, far. Mickelson has found comfort in the new Callaway Razr Fit Xtreme and it showed all week at the Waste Management, where Mickelson never seemed to doubt his go-to club off the tee (it was interesting that the one bad swing he made off the tee all week came on the 18th on Friday, when he decided to hit three-wood off the tee instead of driver, and found the water). When Mickelson has been at his best, he's boomed the ball long and straight off the tee, and if this Razr Fit Xtreme can continue to do what it did in Scottsdale I see Phil having much success this week at Pebble Beach and many more weeks to come.
4.) Mickelson is still the second biggest draw in the game -- There isn't a golfer out there besides Tiger Woods that could have held the golf world's attention for as long as Mickelson with his consistent four-shot leads. He was basically blowing the Waste Management field away all week, opening with that incredible 11-under 60 (or 59.5, whatever you want to call it), but we kept watching because Phil is that much fun to see play when he's dialed in. Rory McIlroy is special, Dustin Johnson is talented, Bubba Watson is original, but nobody outside of Tiger can bring eyes on golf like Mickelson, especially when he's playing like he did this week.
3.) If his health holds up, Mickelson isn't going anywhere -- Before this week, many people were wondering if we'd ever see Phil Mickelson return to the form we were used to seeing. The guy is one of the most talented players in the world, but he's 42, battling some health issues and definitely enjoys his life off the golf course. But his four day play at TPC Scottsdale reminded us that when he is focused, and swinging the way he is capable of swinging, he can still beat the pants off anyone in the game, and he will be able to do that, health pending, until he's ready for the Champions Tour.
2.) Strangely enough, that missed putt for 59 might have been the key to this win -- After Mickelson's first round ended at the Waste Management, he talked about a missed birdie putt on the par-5 15th (A hole he went on to play 4-under for the rest of the week) as the moment that got him going. He had a short look at birdie, couldn't convert and he said it pushed him into an incredible run after that included four birdies and gave us a great look at the rare 59. But I think his missed putt on the final hole on Thursday might have re-focused him for the rest of the week. Think about it, if you post 59 in the opening round, it has to be tough to stay focused for 54 more holes knowing that your week will be defined by one thing and one thing only. With the lip-out for 59 leading to a 60, Mickelson had other things to think about, like winning, and he went out the rest of the week on a mission.
1.) For everything great that Phil did, we must remember 2012 -- Now comes the thoughts on what is to come. Personally, I think Mickelson is set to go on a run here that could lead to more wins, and me picking him at Augusta National, but we must remember a season ago at Pebble Beach when his final round 64 had us all buzzing about a Mickelson year. He went on to struggle the rest of the season, never finding his form and failing to win again, so as good as this week was for Mickelson, we will need to see him re-focused in his next few events before we can know if this is really the time for Lefty to shine or just another solid week in the roller coaster ride that is Phil Mickelson.
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