Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Phil Mickelson puts Open disappointment aside in search for another PGA


SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Phil Mickelson can be sad about the British Open another day. Right now, he’s focused on winning a sixth major title.

Denied two weeks ago by Henrik Stenson at Royal Troon, the 46-year-old Mickelson gets another crack at a major in this compressed Olympic summer at a place where he’s won previously. Mickelson won in a wild Monday finish the last time the PGA Championship came to Baltusrol’s Lower Course 11 years ago. He returns confident that, while his memory of that week has faded, he’ll be inspired by his recollection of hoisting the Wanamaker trophy.

If he’s to win a second PGA Championship, he’ll have to put off processing the loss in Scotland.

“Because we have big tournaments coming up right now and because I am playing well, I don’t want to let an opportunity, another really good opportunity, that I have to play a PGA Championship here at Baltusrol at a course I like, while my game is sharp, and let the effects or disappointment linger,” Mickelson said Tuesday.

While Mickelson candidly said that the disappointment of losing to Stenson’s major-record total may grow in the coming years, he was able to joke about the helpless feeling of watching the Swede torch the links.

“I don’t look back on the final round with anything that I would have done different, other than maybe go over to Stenson’s bag and bend his putter a little bit,” Mickelson said, drawing laughter from the room.

The left-hander was a sentimental favorite, in part, because he hasn’t won on the PGA Tour in three years. Among many fans, there was probably a thought that the Open was his last best chance to win a major again. However, the ever-optimistic Mickelson disputes the idea that, at an advanced age as far as golfers go, that he’s running short on time.

“I don’t believe that there is a small window,” he said. “I think there’s a really big window of opportunity to add to my resumé, to continue to compete in big events, for the simple reason that the feel and sensitivity of hitting shots; the ability to play golf courses a certain way, to visualize, to make birdies, to pull shots off, that has not diminished.

“I just haven’t been on plane for a couple years, and all of those sensitivities go away when your golf swing is not on plane. And now that it’s back on plane, I think there’s a really big window of opportunity to have some success.”

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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