Phil Mickelson is going to need a huge second round at the Scottish Open. After one round at the last tuneup before the British Open, Lefty sits in a tie for 123rd. He shot a 73 and sits 11 shots behind the leader.
By his own admission, Mickelson is playing in this event so that he can work on his current frame of mind. His poor first round isn't likely to give him any encouragement. If he doesn't deliver in a big way in the second round, he is going to face a lot of questions in the days leading up to the British Open.
After missing the cut at the Greenbrier Classic, Mickelson seemed to sense that his game was off. He cut short a vacation so that he could play in this event and gain some momentum. After one round, his strategy has backfired. Mickelson had a couple of early birdies but fell apart after that. With the leader shooting a remarkable 62, Mickelson is essentially already eliminated from contention. The best he can hope for is to turn in an amazing second round that lands him in the top 65. If he can't do that, he will miss the cut for the second straight week.
The issues facing Mickelson have been well-documented. He has fallen out of the top 10 in the world rankings and has finished in the top 10 just once in his last six events. Counting the first round in Scotland, Mickelson has not shot better than 71 in his last eight rounds of competitive golf. That isn't going to get the job done at the British Open. Though he finished in a tie for second at the 2011 event, the year's third major hasn't exactly been kind to Mickelson over the years. In the six Opens before 2011, Mickelson didn't finish better than 19th.
As a fan, I always root for Phil. I want him to do well and I would love to see him contend at this year's British Open. However, he needs to get things back on track. If he can push to make the cut at the Scottish Open, he should be more than happy. But if he struggles again and missed the cut, it's going to be hard to imagine him suddenly turning it on and winning the British Open.* - Mark Paul is an avid golf fan. He has watched and played the game since high school.
- Sports & Recreation