With just a week to go before The Open Championship at Muirfield, players on both the PGA Tour and European Tour are going through a wide variety of stress levels. Of course, the winners of this week’s John Deere Classic and Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open will guarantee themselves precious spots at Muirfield. Many players who are already qualified are taking the week off to rest and travel comfortably.
For Phil Mickelson, among many others, this week’s tournament is little more than a final tune-up before one of the most unpredictable events in golf. Of course, most of those other guys aren’t under the spotlight that Mickelson finds himself in on a weekly basis.
It’s no secret that the links style of golf is something that has always challenged Mickelson, and he hopes that he can get his game in top form by competing overseas this week.
“Playing Castle Stuart gives me a great opportunity to be competitive against a world-class field on a links course the week before the Open,” Mickelson said in interviews leading up to the event. “Because I’ve been putting so well, I’m really looking forward to the challenge. I mean, I think that I’m optimistic it could be a little different.”
A win this week in Scotland would be huge for Lefty going into the Open. In his 19 previous attempts to bring home a Claret Jug, Mickelson has only cracked the top 10 twice. And while it hasn’t always been his strongest suit, the putting portion of the game isn’t what’s gotten him in trouble. He tends to struggle in the high winds and unforgiving rough and bunkers that are the calling card of so many Opens.
Phil has had his game in really great form most of the year, but it’s also let him down at some inconvenient times. After missing the cut at last week’s Greenbrier Classic, he certainly needs to get right if he’s going to bring his best game to Muirfield.