GULLANE, Scotland – Fresh off a Scottish Open victory, Phil Mickelson showed up at Muirfield for the first time in 11 years and didn’t take long to figure out his strategy for the British Open. He wants to keep it as simple as possible and try to make easy pars.
He didn’t take the easy route on the par-5 17th, however.
Mickelson couldn’t resist the temptation of the dunes right of the green. He placed the ball on the upward slope, even with the flag, and attempted his favorite trick shot – hitting a lob wedge that goes backward. With a full swing, the ball went up and over his head, landed on the green and stopped about 6 feet away.
But it was only Monday, a day of practice.
It is fun to come in with a win, but now it’s time to focus on Muirfield and try to learn the nuances, Mickelson said. What I’m looking for is how to make easy pars, how to get the ball in the fairway easily, how to get it up and around the greens without a lot of stress, without having to hit perfect shots. Because imperfect shots will be magnified by the wind.
Mickelson has not had much success in the Open. He finished one shot out of a playoff in 2004.
Ben Curtis has reunited with Andy Sutton, the English caddie he hired in 2003 to work for him at Royal St. George’s when Curtis shocked the golfing world by winning the British Open. ... Charles Howell III would have been the second alternate, but he withdrew from the Open on Sunday when Jordan Spieth qualified by winning the John Deere Classic. If Zach Johnson had won the Deere, then Joost Luiten would have gotten in, and Howell would have moved up to the first alternate position.