But with the snap of a couple of left-handed fingers, things can change. A 64 on Sunday at Pebble Beach catapulted Lefty past Tiger Woods, Tony Romo and everyone else involved in one of the most beautiful venues in golf, and if you thought Phil's play would fall off this week at the Northern Trust Open, you'd be wrong.
Mickelson opened with a 5-under 66 at an event he has won twice in his career. He made six birdies and just one bogey, his first in 50 straight holes, and it put him ahead of the rest of the field after the first round. He hit 72 percent of his greens. He is playing golf unlike anything Phil has ever seen before; consistently.
The question, always, with Phil is if he can keep it up for an entire season. While he is absolutely the second best golfer of his generation, and the most talented southpaw to ever touch a cord grip, the act of playing solid for weeks, months and a year on end is something foreign to Phil. One week he wins, the next he falters. One week he is Masters champion, the next he's missing the cut.
Phil is great for golf mostly because he is the anti-Tiger. Always taking chances. Always playing like the game is fun, and most importantly, winning his own way. But if he could do something this week, and notch two wins in consecutive weeks, a guy most had written off this season would quickly become the story of 2012. And that, my friends, is a great thing.