Phil Mickelson is not where he wanted or planned to be this weekend and he is not going to end it as world number one either, but history suggests that St Andrews could be the best place for him.
Instead of playing the last two rounds of the Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond Mickelson missed the halfway cut last night and so turned his attention to The Open.
The left-hander’s only top-10 finish in the championship came when he was third at Royal Troon six years ago – and that followed an early exit the week before.
“I’ve played well weeks after missing the cut – and I’ve played poorly. It is what it is,” commented Masters champion Mickelson, who would have survived the cut had he taken a quadruple bogey eight rather than quintuple bogey nine on the 18th.
Two balls into the water hazard did for him there, but he was not the only big name to crash out.
Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, US PGA holder YE Yang and defending champion Martin Kaymer also finished three over and Retief Goosen, Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and last Sunday’s French Open winner Miguel Angel Jimenez packed their bags too.
Mickelson had to be first or second to topple Tiger Woods and, while the third major of the season will offer him another opportunity, the Home of Golf is where Woods won by eight in 2000 and five in 2005.
Nobody has taken the number one spot off him since the second of those victories, but he did, of course, miss the cut at Turnberry last year and has had the fall-out from his sex scandal to deal with for the last seven months.
“You can always look at the positives, but I wanted to play and get a couple more competitive rounds,” added Mickelson.
“I’m trying to get ready for the British Open and get ready for St Andrews, get my game sharpened and the first two days gave me the opportunity to see where it needs work the next few days.”