AUGUSTA, Ga. — I realize I may well be jinxing the hell out of Phil Mickelson by saying this, but here it is: The 2012 Masters is his to lose.
Consider history. Mickelson has won here three times already. He knows every element of this course, every hill and dale and skid of the green. He knows how to play this course under every condition, particularly Sunday with nobody behind you.
Consider momentum. After 10 holes at this tournament, including a lost ball on the 10th, he sat at four over and appeared, for all intents, over and done. Since then, he's gone 12-under in just two-plus rounds, including an astonishing 30 on the back nine on Saturday. He's rolling harder and faster than anyone on the course.
Consider the opposition. The only major winners in the top 10 besides Mickelson are Louis Oosthuizen and Padraig Harrington. Those two have four majors between them, and a whole lot of nothing since they won those majors. You don't want to place too much weight on experience at Augusta, because everyone who wins here has to win the first one, but you don't want to write it off as irrelevant either.
Consider the moment. If Phil wins on Sunday, he'll have four green jackets, tying him with Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods. Only Jack Nicklaus at six has more. That's heady, immortal company. Phil's already in the World Golf Hall of Fame, or will be after his induction next month, but a victory at Augusta would put him in the conversation for the top 10 golfers in history, and he knows it.
So there you have it, several very good reasons why Phil Mickelson could, and should, win at Augusta. Your thoughts?
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- Dan Wetzel