Phil Mickelson Ready for Golf's Greatest Stage at Augusta National and the 2012 Masters: Fan's Look

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Phil Mickelson has a flair for the dramatic and is one of the most exciting players to watch in any golf tournament, let alone The Masters.

At Augusta National in 2012, he is playing incredible golf, and he has a real chance to take home his fourth green jacket on Sunday. He showed the world why he is still the PGA TOUR's most fearless shot-maker on the 15th during the third round, where he hit a daring flop shot that resulted in a birdie to give him a share of the lead.

If he wins the event, that up-and-down will be the shot sequence responsible for the victory. The kicker -- no one else in the field would have even considered attempting the shot and been satisfied with a par.

Not Phil, though, and not at Augusta National Golf Club during The Masters on golf's greatest stage.

After going long on his second shot, into "no man's land" behind the green, he hit a high flop shot that landed softly within feet of the cup. The holed putt was a fitting encore, and of course, the gallery erupted into some of the loudest cheers of the day.

Not to be outdone by his own feats of greatness, he next recorded an incredible birdie after a beautifully played approach shot on the 18th hole settled neatly within 20 feet of the pin. After hitting a drive that was well off line, most players would have been happy with a shot simply found the green.

Finishing with a 66, he will be playing in the final pairing on Sunday along with Peter Hanson. Interestingly, he has never won any of his three green jackets playing outside of the final pairing. If history can repeat itself and he wins again in the final group, it will reinvigorate his career and all of golf. He's faced injuries and struggled with his game of late, so winning at Augusta would be the best way to announce his comeback.

Comeback is the operative word as he had to fight just to make the cut after a rocky start during Thursday's opening round. Birdies on the 17th and 18th in the first round allowed him to salvage a shot at the win after finishing with a 2-over 74.

"The way I fought back on Thursday, keeping me in it, allowed me to make a run," said Mickelson.

What a run it would be, should Mickelson win. This would certainly be most dramatic of his wins at Augusta. It would also be an opportunity to bring some casual fans back to the game.

No one on the TOUR has the clout that Tiger Woods does in terms of popularity, polarization, and ratings. But if there is someone who can create any semblance of what Woods brings, it's Mickelson. The game will be better served should he win, and fans of the game should be glad to see him win for that reason.

Sunday will be an opportunity for the world to see how this storybook tournament comes to an end. Whatever happens, it will be must-see TV.

"I love nothing more than being in the final group on Sunday at The Masters. There's no better feeling in professional golf," he added.

Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and a PGA professional, following the PGA TOUR.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets


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