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Incredible short game keeps Phil Mickelson in the mix at the PGA Championship

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Phil Mickelson / Associated Press

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — If you've followed Phil Mickelson's career over the years, then you likely remember Ford's "What will Phil do next?" ad campaign that posed the question about what the four-time major winner would do next when faced with an impossible shot.

The ad hasn't been around since 2004, but it's making a comeback this week in a big way, after Mickelson put together another improbable round at the PGA Championship. How else can you explain what he's done this week? Quite honestly, you can't. The only thing you can do is ask the question: What will Phil do next?

Less than 24 hours after Mickelson put the finishing touches on one of the greatest scrambling rounds of his career -- a round that included 11 one-putts and only five greens hit in regulation -- he put on another scrambling clinic on Friday, recording another round that included 11 one-putts, eight greens in regulation and seven fairways hit.

If you're keeping score at home, that's 13 fairways, 13 greens in regulation and 22 one-putts in just two rounds. Simply put, Mickelson's last two rounds at the Ocean Course were inexplicable.

For the normal pro, those stats -- sans the 22 one-putts -- would have them staring at a weekend spent on the couch watching the coverage on TV. But we're talking about Phil Mickelson here, one of the greatest scramblers in golf history, and a guy who always seems to produce when you least expect it.

Currently at even-par following a 1-under 71 on Friday, that saw him move up 55 spots on the leaderboard, Mickelson's still six shots back of the lead; however, there's reason to believe he could be a factor on the weekend if he continues to grind and scramble for his life on Ocean Course that finally showed its teeth during the second round.

"I feel like I'm slowly getting better and my touch and feel and shotmaking are slowly coming back," said Mickelson. "Even though I missed some shots today, I missed it on the side I needed to miss it. Although I didn't drive it well, I was able to advance it up by the green, and my short game saved me on a number of shots. To shoot under par today was a success."

Sure, he managed to get into contention in the most unconventional way possible, but that's the way Phil Mickelson likes to do things -- in a manner that would make mere mortals shake their head and say "that's just not possible."

Oh, it's possible. The big difference is there's only one Phil Mickelson, and he's putting on one hell of a short game show this week to stay in the mix at the PGA Championship. The only question that remains is: What will Phil do next?

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