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Devil Ball Golf

Phil Mickelson’s new approach to putting not exactly paying off

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Earlier this week, Phil Mickelson opened up about his lack of success across the Atlantic Ocean. Lefty has 31 top-10s in major championships over his career, but only one of those came at the British Open, which kicks off next week.

Phil has struggled with links golf his entire career, and he told the Associated Press this week, "... You need to putt with less break and more aggression is what I've come to find. I'm going to try to do that this week and next week and see if that doesn't combat some of the issues that I've had putting here."

After one round at the Scottish Open, it seems Phil needs to find another strategy.

Mickelson had 33 putts on Thursday at Castle Stuart Golf Links, finished with a 1-over 73, and is eight shots back of leaders Lee Westwood and Mark Tullo.

You know the thing about Phil? As smart as he is, and trust me, he's a brilliant dude, it's times like this that totally baffle me. He thinks his problems have been with a lack of aggressiveness on the greens? No. No no no no no.

The problems with Phil on the European Tour can best be summarized by his play on the 14th hole on Thursday. Phil, who was 2-under at the time and well on his way to a solid opening round, found himself just off the fairway in the tall, but light, hay. The idea here is to find the fattest part of the massive green, land it there, let the ball release as it does on those greens, and hope that your 30-foot birdie putt can somehow wiggle in. If it doesn't, you take your par, tip your cap, flash that goofy smile that makes you eight figures, and head onto the next hole.

But Phil has never understood this. He can't play to the safe side. Phil hit his wedge right at the tucked pin, short-sided himself, tried to hit some punch-shot chip with a club too lofted for what the shot called for, tried it again, failed a second time, two-putted and walked away with a double-bogey.

His round was doomed from that point, but it's exactly what Phil has never understood on the continent that started this pesky game. Sometimes, and especially on golf courses with hard greens and nasty mounds, playing it safe isn't just the smart play, it's the only play.

That's the deal, Phil. It's really hard to blame your aggressive nature on the greens when you're putting for pars and bogeys all day.

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