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Phil Mickelson: No one benefited from Tiger more than me

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Phil Mickelson appeared on "The Charlie Rose Show" on Monday night to discuss science, educational achievement, math initiatives ... hey, wake up! He also talked golf! (For the full interview, click here.)

As Wei Under Par recounts, Mickelson talked about his fascination with space and his desire to impart a love of math and science to young kids. But once the feel-good stuff got out of the way, Rose drilleded right in and asked Mickelson about the infamous missed putt that might have cost him the Open Championship a couple weeks ago:

"I missed just under a 3-foot putt on 11, which I think ultimately cost me the tournament because it derailed me from the mental focus I had," Mickelson said. "I just let my mind slip. I started thinking ahead instead of focusing on the putt…I started thinking about the 12th hole when I was playing 11. I've got to work on my focus. Missing a 3-foot putt is not a technical thing, it's more of a mental focus."

Mickelson also discussed how he's been able to shape his game as he's grown older and played smarter rather than gutsier. He fully expects to be a far better links player in the next phase of his career.

And Tiger? Of course, Tiger Woods was a topic of conversation. It's the law. And this won't make the pro-Phil, anti-Tiger crowd happy, but Mickelson gave Woods all the credit in the world for improving everything in golf, starting with Mickelson himself:

"There's nobody in the game who has benefited more from Tiger than myself," Mickelson said. "He drove the purses up. He drove up the TV ratings. He increased the marketing expectations. He raised endorsement values. Nobody has been able to capitalize from that as much as I have, so I will always be appreciative for what he has done for me, my family, the game of golf." Not a whole lot of gray area there, is there?

And because every great golfer needs another golfer as a foil, Mickelson understands that Woods' greatness had significance for him: "Tiger brought out my best game. He drove me to practice harder and work harder…Having that opponent driving and pushing you to get better is what helps people achieve higher levels of performance."

Mickelson closed by noting that he believes he'll be in competition for majors for at least the next half-decade. After seeing him at Royal St. George's, it's tough to argue the point.

[Visor tip: Wei Under Par]

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