Grand plan is driving Mickelson
Phil feels upswing in game can seal major Slam – but immediate focus is on US PGA
PHIL MICKELSON believes he could find it easier to win major championships rather than regular tour events after turning two of his weaknesses into strengths.
Mickelson won his fifth major with the British Open Championship at Muirfield last month, meaning he needs a victory in the US Open – in which he has finished runner-up a record six times – to complete the career Grand Slam.
And although the world number two insists he is fully focused on this week's US PGA Championship at Oak Hill, he also has more lofty goals.
"I don't have a specific number (of majors) that I want to end my career," the 43-year-old left-hander said. "I don't think it's any surprise that I would really like to have won all four.
"I'm one leg away with the US Open, I've been close there a number of times and I'll be putting in extra effort every year now for that particular event especially. I feel as though I started to play my best golf in the last four or five, six months.
"I feel like I've keyed in on two areas that I've struggled with for years, which is putting and off the tee.
"I feel very confident in my ability to get the ball in play off the tee and I feel very confident in my ability on the greens now; where I've turned weaknesses into strengths, I believe, and this serves me well in major championships.
"I feel like now the major championships are possibly the easiest ones for me to be in contention and maybe even win, because of those weaknesses becoming strengths."
Mickelson's victory at Muirfield – courtesy of a stunning closing 66 – came in his 20th Open appearance and lifting the Claret Jug after years of struggling to get to grips with links golf has certainly given him a confidence boost.
"More than the total number of majors, I think it's having won three of the four now," he added. "I think the Open really changed some of my perception of myself as a player.
"I think that had I won another green jacket (at the US Masters), that would not have done the same thing as what winning the Claret Jug has done, because in my mind it is an accomplishment in my career that makes me more of a complete player.
"I'd finished second and third there just twice in 20 events and to finally have won that and break through and play some of my best golf ever in my final round, that kind of changes the way I view myself and my game, more so than just a major championship that I had already won."
Mickelson is among the later starters today and has been paired, as is traditional, with the other two majors winners of 2013, Masters champion Adam Scott and US Open winner Justin Rose.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy is due off at 1.25pm local time (5.25pm Irish time), 20 minutes ahead of Mickelson, while world number one Tiger Woods has an 8.35am (1.35pm Irish time) start alongside 2011 winner Keegan Bradley and former Ryder Cup captain Davis Love.