Golf

2014 PGA Tour Preview: Phil Mickelson Has One Goal In Mind Heading Into New Year

Brian Spurlock – USA TODAY Sports

2013 was a great year for the PGA Tour. It had everything even the most casual golf fan could hope for, with young stars like Jordan Spieth and Billy Horschel winning their first tournaments, Henrik Stenson‘s dominant run to win both the PGA Tour and European Tour season titles, and Tiger Woods‘s return to the No. 1 spot in the world rankings.

Of course, we would be remiss if we failed to mention the year that one of the biggest fan favorites in the game, Phil Mickelson, had in 2013. He won two tournaments, including his thrilling victory at the Open Championship at Muirfield, and had seven top-tens to rake in nearly $5.5 million in PGA Tour earnings alone.

Then there’s the elephant in the room that everybody wants to talk about. For the sixth time in his career, Mickelson found himself disappointed on a U.S. Open Sunday evening, once again a runner up. This one was extra painful, as Mickelson looked to be in control, having held at least a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds at Merion.

Mickelson certainly realizes that he still had a stellar year by any standard, but as we go into 2014 there’s just one focus for Lefty: majors or bust, with a large circle on the calendar for June 12th, Pinehurst, N.C.

Certainly if he decides to reduce his schedule down to the 15-18 event range, as he suggested was possible earlier this year, he’ll be doing it in an attempt to win the majors he craves. For a star once dogged by the “best never to win a major” title, the career Grand Slam he would win with a triumph at Pinehurst would cement his legacy as one of the greatest to ever live.

The easy thing to do here is to say that Mickelson will win another two or three tournaments in 2014, but I’m going to go out on a limb and make the early U.S. Open call. 14 years ago, Mickelson finished second to Payne Stewart at Pinehurst, in what was Stewart’s final victory before his tragic death later that year. This year, Mickelson will finally overcome the major that has eluded him so long and hold the U.S. Open trophy the day before his 44th birthday.

Brandon Raper is a golf writer for RantSports.com. “Like” him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @Brandon__Raper, and join him on Google+