AUSTIN, Texas — It’s the ultimate silver lining.
Phil Mickelson left for a trip to Augusta National Golf Club shortly after his brief stay in the Lone Star State came to an end Friday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Despite defeating Jason Day 2 up, Mickelson didn’t advance out of pool play, losing two of his three matches, but heading east cheered him up.
“I think that’s why I’ve enjoyed this match play is if things don’t go well, I get an extra day or two there,” Mickelson said. “I’m going to go there tonight and spend the next three or four days there and I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s the greatest week of the year. The Masters is the best tournament. Excited to get there and spend time.”
The three-time Masters champion will head home after his stay in Augusta and continue to prep for the Masters. He said he has a bent-grass green at his home that he’ll get to running 15 on the Stimpmeter, and he’ll continue working on other parts of his game.
In February, Mickelson won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, his 44th PGA Tour title, but then hit a rough patch. However, he said he’s trending in the right direction after missing his last two cuts and playing just three days at Austin Country Club.
“This has been a good week to find out what I’m doing well, what I need to work on,” Mickelson said. “Andrew (Getson, his coach) and I were talking about it last night. I now have 10 days, 11 days to work on it. That’s the good thing that comes of these matches. Plus, you have the intensity of the final round every time you tee off. It’s not like it’s a third day in a regular tournament, oh, well, whatever. You’ve got to play well to win, so you can really find out what areas you need work.”
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His confidence is lacking just a touch, but he knows driving down Magnolia Lane always lifts his spirits.
“I certainly would have liked to have some better finishes and go in there with some momentum, but the fact is I’ve been playing well for the most part this year,” Mickelson said. “I had some good things this week come about and started to putt well again. I haven’t putted to the level that I’ve been the last few years, and so that’s starting to turn.
“And my speed is up. I’ll go have a good workweek, really maximize my speed and see if I can hit it long and far at Augusta and hopefully straight.”