January 19, 2011
So, yeah, that whole Phil-is-a-vegetarian thing? Done and done.
At a press conference Wednesday in advance of the Abu Dhabi Championship, Mickelson spent plenty of time discussing his diet, his habits and his prospects for 2011 and beyond.
"I was a strict vegetarian for five months, and that went OK, but ultimately it was doomed to fail," said Mickelson, a noted connoisseur (and part-owner) of Five Guys Burgers & Fries, among other less-than-healthy eateries. "I learned a lot from that as far as eating habits and diet, and so I've implemented a lot of the things from that."
On a more serious note, Mickelson is still battling the effects of arthritis, which first showed up last year midseason. "That's something that will never go away," Mickelson said, "but I was fortunate. I was fortunate because I got on it right away ... before there was permanent damage to any joints or whatnot."
Wherever Mickelson goes, he draws equal shares of acclaim and controversy, both because of what he's achieved and what he hasn't. The 2010 Masters champion acknowledged that he had plenty of work to do this year. "My goal this year in 2011 is to have the year I expected 2010 to be," he said. "With the exception of the Masters, it wasn't the year I had hoped for. And so I've been working hard in the offseason to make 2011 the year I believe I can have and the one I had hoped for last year."
Mickelson had at least 12 chances last year to take over the world No. 1 spot from Tiger Woods, but was never able to capitalize on any of them. Now, he and Woods both face challenges from Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and others. And with many of Mickelson's victories that count toward the two-year-rolling-ranking statistics coming in 2009, Phil will have work to do if he's going to keep himself high in the standings.
With Phil, you can never be certain of what you're getting until he's either holding the championship trophy or walking head-down off the 18th green. But he's always a compelling figure to watch, no matter what, and it looks like we're in for more of the same in 2011.