Wednesday, February 02, 2011

"Fun" Phil or "Safe" Mickelson?

One article on the Phil Mickelson website mentioned that "fun" Phil reappeared at Torrey Pines but will the "let it ride" or "safe" Mickelson attitude win more PGA Tour events this season?

On Sunday, Mickelson's play on the 18th hole at Torrey Pines gave fans mixed signals about what to expect from Lefty's game.

Did Mickelson make a hasty decision by carving a safe shot out of the rough before watching how Bubba Watson played the 18th? Should Phil have gone for the green or lay-up as he ultimately chose to do?

Mickelson's usual risk-taking attitude gave way to a safe out handing Watson his second victory. Although risk could have equaled reward, (an eagle and a playoff), it could have also equated to folly.  Perhaps Phil could have been thinking back to his 2006 US Open disaster in which he double-bogeyed the 18th hole at Winged Foot losing a one-stroke lead and dropping into a tie for second place.

As Phil said,
"I'm not ever going to forget it, that's obvious!"

Throwing around the word "strategy" hasn't come easy for Phil but, knowing the changes that have been made to Torrey Pines has made Mickelson more cautious about how to play the course.

"The biggest thing for me is I'm not taking on anywhere near as much risk," Phil explained Saturday after getting into a tie with Bill Haas. "I'm just playing it much more conservative, because the reward isn't there. This course doesn't reward you for taking on any challenge. And my more conservative approach into the greens, albeit boring, has led me to be on top of the leaderboard."

Although a conservative finish didn't get him the trophy, without the pressure of having to win on 18 Mickelson dazzled fans with a tremendous wedge to within three-feet of a tie. If the ball would have spun a little more, there could have been a playoff.

So, perhaps there is room for both fun Phil and safe Mickelson to co-exist with positive results?

Phil Mickelson  
Credit: Mickelson in Phil?

Looking ahead to this week's PGA Tour event, the Waste Management Open in Phoenix, Mickelson will be playing golf alongside fellow lefty Bubba Watson.

"I played really good golf and gave myself an opportunity," said Mickelson. "Played well on Sunday and had a good tournament. Hopefully, I'll use this as a springboard for (Phoenix)."  I wonder which Phil will be in attendance?

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3 comments: said...

I think even "safe" Phil has more "fun" moments than other golfers.

What makes Phil one of my favorite golfers is he loves to take a risk. I think Bubba Watson has that bit of excitement too.

Great Post!

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