One of the reasons that golf is such a popular sport is unlike almost every other sport out there, golf allows you to compete nearly your entire life. With the advance in technology and fitness, it also helps professionals compete well into their 50s, and while Phil Mickelson isn't quite there yet, he knows that he is just a few years away from being eligible for the Champions Tour and is taking the appropriate measures to make sure he gives himself the best chance to win more majors before his competitive days on the PGA Tour are behind him.
Mickelson, in the field at this week's CIMB Classic, said he is focusing his attention on 2014 and making sure his schedule fits exactly what his goals are in the coming years; majors, and snagging the career Grand Slam.
The 43-year-old has won five majors in his career, and with his British Open victory this summer needs only the U.S. Open to complete the incredible feat, and understands that winning at Pinehurst #2 in 2014 is his main goal.
"There's no hiding the fact that winning the US Open would be my career goal of completing the career Grand Slam," he said.
"That's the final leg that I have and I'll be putting most of my focus into winning the US Open."
Mickelson said much of his focus on his schedule for next season will be all about the major championships, and while it is obviously apparent that Phil still has the game to win three or four more majors, he knows that adding random PGA Tour events to his schedule could end up hurting his goal of tacking on more majors.
"As I look back on my career there are certain tournaments that change the way I view my career, and winning the British Open did that this year," he said.
"I want to give myself opportunities to play and compete in the big tournaments -- I'm mainly saying the majors -- and I'm putting less importance on other events.
"So my whole purpose and focus will be gearing up, participating in certain tournaments that will help me play well in those majors."
It makes total sense that Mickelson should start focusing more on cutting out the random events on his schedule, even if that is a bummer for the PGA Tour and Phil fans that love seeing him at all the events he usually plays in.
While he will be missed at whatever events he does cut from his schedule, it is time for Mickelson to go with a Steve Stricker approach to the game and play in the events that are career-changing (Mickelson started 21 PGA Tour events in '13 to Tiger's 16 and Stricker's 13).
The more events you play, the better chance you have to pick up another win or get some momentum heading into the majors, but for Phil, the next couple of seasons are all about being healthy for those events and having the energy to compete at the highest of levels for four straight days.
Mickelson could win 20 more PGA Tour events, but if he snagged that elusive U.S. Open trophy it would put him in a rarified air that includes Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen as the only players to win all four major championships in their careers.
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