Wayward Lefty changes his Augusta Masters plan

PHIL MICKELSON has reacted to his worst result for seven months by changing the build-up to his Masters title defence next month.

Mickelson, a lowly 55th out of 66 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, has added next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational to his schedule and may play the Houston Open as well before heading to Augusta.

“I need a little bit more competitive golf — I’ve got some work to do,” said the world number six, despite the fact that his seven events already this year are far more than the average.

“If I’d had a little more success earlier, I probably would have not played Bay Hill.

“I’m not shooting the scores I need to shoot. I’m not concerned with the way I’m hitting it or any particular element of my game, but I’m not shooting the scores.”

Mickelson had not won for five months before he won his third green jacket last April, but a closing 76 at Doral appeared a real cause for concern, given that he found an amazing 14 bunkers and hit only four of the 18 greens in regulation.

With 32 out of 72 for the week in that category, he ranked 66th and last, while he tied for 58th in driving accuracy.

Not that Tiger Woods, whose last day 66 for 10th place was a huge boost to his confidence with the opening major of the season only three weeks ago, can take comfort from his performance off the tee so far this year.

With an average of 45% in fairways hit, Woods ranks 191st on the PGA Tour. Only Angel Cabrera is lower.

But scoring is all that really matters and because he did that significantly better, the former world number one headed off for the two-day Tavistock Cup — a four-cornered, star-studded club match in which he had switched from representing hosts Isleworth to Albany in the Bahamas — in much better spirits.

“Every tournament that I’ve played this year I’ve felt better coming out of it — even though the results have not been good,” he said.

“I hit a lot of good golf shots and when I did mishit one I knew what the fix was right away. The driver is still not quite there, but I’m hitting it flush again, so that’s just a matter of time before that comes around.”

Woods has still to confirm that he will also be at Bay Hill next week, but he has still prove he can produce the goods on a consistent basis.

In his first start of the season at Torrey Pines he opened 69-69, then went 74-75 and at the Dubai Desert Classic he followed a second round 66 with scores of 72 and 75. And it was only last December that he led the Target World Challenge by four with a round to go and lost in a play-off to Graeme McDowell.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Discover the

Install our free app today

Available on


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox