To say 2014 has been a struggle for Phil Mickelson might be as big an understatement as saying the guy normally has an decent short game. Not since 2003 have we seen Phil struggle like this, missing his second cut in his last three starts on Friday at the Players Championship.
In Phil's last seven starts we've seen three missed cuts including one at the Masters, a withdrawal at the Valero Texas Open that included an opening round 77 and it seems the No. 8 ranked player in the world has had enough.
Mickelson talked with the media after his 75-70 week at TPC Sawgrass, a course he won on in '07, and seemed lost with what his issues are right now with his golf game.
"I don't know what to say," Phil said. "I don't feel bad about the game, but mentally I'm just really soft right now. I'm having a hard time focusing on the shot. I'm having a hard time seeing the ball go in the hole. But the physical game doesn't feel bad. I don't feel bad about the way I'm hitting it. I don't feel like the misses are bad. I haven't driven the ball this well ever, for how I feel anyways, but getting the ball to the hole, getting the shots close, getting the putts to go, I just haven't been able to do it. So I feel like it's more of a mental issue and I'll go home and see if I can work on it."
Mickelson is not a guy that usually skips around the question, so calling himself out as a "soft" right now on the mental side of things shows just how things have been going for the five-time major winner.
The bad part about all this is that 2014 was supposed to be the Year o' Phil, with the U.S. Open taking place at Pinehurst #2, the course he famously lost at back in 1999 when Payne Stewart made an incredible putt on the 72nd hole to take him by one. That was back when Phil was the loveable loser that was just starting a family and had plenty of big wins ahead of him, and the return to Pinehurst after his Open Championship win last season seemed like the perfect time and place to complete that career Grand Slam.
Now, with just two events left on his schedule before the U.S. Open, it seems like Phil is as likely to miss the weekend at the second major of the year as he is to contend in it. His putting stats are off, something he needs to sharpen if he wants to have a shot on those famously tough greens at Pinehurst, and with two weeks off before his next start, it's back to the drawing board to try and figure something out.
The struggles of Mickelson show that even the most famous golfers in the world can go through slumps where nothing seems like it will ever be fixed and no putt ever seems like it will find the bottom of the cup.
Sometimes the game comes so easy it's laughable, and sometimes you have absolutely no idea what to do to make it right again.
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