Certain times of the year make people act differently. Some people get depressed around Christmastime, while others tend to cheer up around their birthday because they get such an outpouring of love from friends and families. The summer is usually home to good times and vacations. But for Phil Mickelson, it's April. No matter what is going on for the 40-year-old Lefty, April seems to be when the rust clears and the talent buds.
This couldn't be more apparent than over the weekend in Houston. Mickelson blitzed the rest of the contenders over the last 36 holes, shooting 16-under for those two days that included 18 birdies, and put Phil at the top of anyone's list for a favorite at Augusta National.
Where does this come from? Who knows, really. Maybe Mickelson is just bored with the regular season at this point, and most of the tournaments to begin the year just flat don't catch his attention. Maybe at age 40, with 39 PGA Tour wins (tied for 10th all-time), Phil can't focus until the azaleas start blooming, but for some reason, this is the time of year when he goes from a storyline to the story. Since April of 2005, half of Mickelson's wins have come in either April or May, with two being at the Masters, a place that just seems to bring the best out in him.
If Phil can hit his driver next week like he did at Redstone (sixth in driving distance for the week, with just a hair more than 53 percent of the fairways hit), and putt anywhere close to what he did at the Shell (1.64 putts per greens in regulation), he could run away with another green jacket, which would tie him for Masters wins with a certain someone who usually is the story heading into Augusta National.
It just seems that Phil is ready for this, and it showed on Saturday and Sunday. Now he is the story, as he should be, and will be the focus of basically any Masters chatter from now until the legends hit the first tee shots on Thursday morning. I think we all owe Phil a big "Thank You" for making the preparation for Augusta National that much better.