AUGUSTA, Ga. – The new PGA Tour schedule forces players to make tough decisions, and that included a critical pre-Masters choice for Phil Mickelson.
It’s no secret that Mickelson likes to play his way into major form; he’s played the week before the Masters 10 of the past 11 years. (The lone exception was 2013.) But with the Houston Open pushed to the fall and the Valero Texas Open sliding into the pre-Masters spot, Mickelson opted instead for some extra work at Augusta National.
“How am I going to try to get my best performance this week when I’m not playing the week before? So I came here four days last week and did a lot of course-work prep,” Mickelson said Tuesday at the Masters. “Then I went home and worked on my game, so we’ll see.”
Mickelson is one of the most experienced players in the field – he’s making his 27th career start here – but he’s still learning the breaks on the greens and double-checking his notes from past visits.
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“So when I get to the tournament site this week, all I’m worried about is executing and getting my game sharp and I don’t have to worry about the golf course and what’s going on and what changes have been made,” he said. “I’ve already made those decisions on how I’m going to play.”
And he’s going to play aggressively, vowing to pound driver all over Augusta, especially if it remains soggy after early-week rain.
But without being tournament-tested the week before the Masters, he’s still unsure how he’ll perform this week.
“I’m just as curious as anybody,” he said. “It’s a chance to be fresh and ready, but it’s also a chance to maybe not be as sharp. I’m just not quite sure how it’s going to play out.”