By Brandon Sandberg @sandbergbrandon on June 11, 2014
Phil Mickelson is one U.S. Open win away from finishing a career grand slam. His six second place finishes at the U.S. Open raise the question, will Phil ever win one? Here are five reasons why 2014 will be the year Mickelson finally silences his critics, wins the U.S. Open, and completes his career grand slam.
Phil Mickelson is notorious for hitting a lot of high-risk, high-reward shots. Why does he take so many risks? Because he's that good. Pinehurst's fairways are much wider than we're used to seeing for a U.S. Open, so expect Mickelson to swing the big stick when others decide to lay up.
Mickelson told reporters that he'll be using a new putting grip for this year's tournament. Some people will say that it's risky, and even stupid, to try something new right before a tournament that means so much to him, but they're wrong. Golf is as challenging mentally as it is physically. If Mickelson has confidence, which he does, he'll be less likely to make a silly mental mistake like pushing a putt on the 18th green to win. Remember that?
You could easily make the argument that Mickelson is the best short game player on the PGA Tour. His trademark "flop shot" is so difficult, you won't see any other players, but Mickelson executes it to perfection practically every time. This aspect of Mickelson's game allows him to run the ball up nice and snug next to the hole, creating easier putts and more birdie opportunities.
One of the main reasons why Pinehurst No. 2 is such a difficult golf course is its length. Fortunately for Mickelson, he's one of the few golfers on tour who should be able to reach the greens in regulation. Assuming he keeps the ball in play, Mickelson will have a lot more birdie putt opportunities than others who are still a chip and putt away from saving par.
You could make this argument a lot for Mickelson, considering the fact that he's come in second place six times in the U.S. Open. He hasn't been playing his best golf lately, but his confidence is still through the roof. This is familiar territory for him. Mickelson is one U.S. Open victory away from completing a career grand slam; you best believe he's motivated to win.
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