Tour Report: Ability to learn impresses Lefty

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Phil Mickelson helps a member of the CGA-HSBC Junior Golf Program learn to hit out of a bunker.

By Chris Reimer, PGA TOUR staff

GUANGDONG, China — Phil Mickelson may have gotten a glimpse of the future on Tuesday when he spent time with students in the China Junior Golf Program sponsored by the China Golf Association and HSBC.

Mickelson, a two-time winner of the World Golf Championships-HSBC Championship, worked with the juniors on their bunker game. He came away impressed — not only with their golf skills which he called "tremendous," but also their ability to take advice and instantly implement the changes he suggested.

"I thought that the juniors that I just spent a few minutes with today had great golf swings and were able to make the little adjustments that I recommended, and then hit the shot that was needed," Mickelson said. "It’s that type of ability to learn quickly with proper instruction that is a sign of a good young player who can go a long ways in the game.

"The key to being a professional is getting better every year, and their ability to learn and pick things up quickly was very impressive, very similar to what I see in the States and other parts of the world. To hit a high, soft shot out of the bunker, out of a deep-faced bunker that they were hitting, those are hard shots, and every one of them was able to hit it in the end."

The CGA-HSBC China Junior Golf Program began in 2007 and is the only officially sanctioned, long-term program dedicated in the promotion, development and improvement of junior golf in China.

As part of the program, a series of tournaments, including the HSBC National Junior Golf Championship and HSBC China Junior Golf Open, are staged and a ranking system of juniors has been developed. Summer and winter camps are held, as well as the HSBC National Junior Golf Advanced Camp.

There is also a "Golf in School" component of the program, and HSBC sponsors the China National Junior Golf Team, as well.