Mickelson validated by WGC-Mexico win

MEXICO CITY – When Phil Mickelson finally trades his PGA Tour card for an AARP card, which at this rate will likely stretch well into his golden years, PGA Tour victory No. 43 will be greater than the sum of its parts.

At first blush, the frenzied shootout on Sunday at the WGC-Mexico Championship was don’t-blink stuff. Lefty began the day two strokes off the lead, was one of six players to hold at least a share of the top spot and birdied Nos. 15 and 16 to force overtime with Justin Thomas, who just happens to be the game’s hottest player.

In typical Phil fashion, he didn’t make it easy.

He missed the fairway at the 11th hole, hit his next shot into a row of hedges and weaved a pitch between trees on his way to a bogey that dropped him two strokes off the pace with seven holes to play.

He caromed two tee shots off carts paths in a three-hole stretch, hit a tree and “a bunch of people” along the way – exactly what we’ve come to expect from one of the game’s most entertaining players.

Finally, facing another missed opportunity, he did something he’d been unable to do for over four years, holing key putts and avoiding the kind of mistakes that have defined a winless drought that stretched back to the 2013 Open Championship.

But when Mickelson finally settles into retirement, it won’t be his frenzied give and take with Thomas, who played his last 36 holes at Chapultepec Golf Club in 16 under par, or those clutch putts coming down the stretch that will define his 43rd celebration. It will be the validation that comes after more than four years of trial and (largely) error.

At 47 years old, Phil Mickelson has redefined himself. He’s no longer an aging legend clinging to misplaced confidence, or a player who has struggled with focus and poor swing mechanics. Instead, he’s emerged from the longest victory slump of his career like a competitive Benjamin Button.

“I believe it's going to continue to get better each week,” Mickelson reasoned following his victory over Thomas on the first playoff hole. “I don't think that this is the apex or the peak, I think I'm going to continue to get better, I think I'm working on the right things. I knew it was going to happen, but having validation means a lot.”

Flanked by a World Golf Championship trophy it’s easy to have that kind of confidence, but know that throughout this process Mickelson never waivered.

Source : The Golf Channel

posted at 05 Mar 2018 21:45:28

 



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