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The arthritis is the latest health scare for Mickelson’s family. His wife, Amy, and mother are both battling breast cancer; the long-term prognosis for both is good.

While Mickelson said the arthritis didn’t affect his play at Pebble Beach or St. Andrews, where he was never a factor, he only resumed his regular practice routine last week. Revealing his condition earlier might have lessened some of the criticism of his game these last few weeks.

But that’s not Lefty’s style.

“First of all, I don’t want excuses. And second, I don’t want to discuss something when I don’t know what the outcome is going to be,” Mickelson said. “For five or six weeks, I was a little unsure of how this was going to affect me long term, career, what have you. Now that I feel confident it’s not going to affect not only the rest of my career or the rest of my life, but even in the short term it shouldn’t have an effect, I feel a lot better about it and I’m a lot more at ease to discuss it.”

Mickelson certainly looked at ease Tuesday during his practice round at Whistling Straits. He joked and laughed often with playing partners Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton and Steve Marino, and it was clear there was more riding on the round than simple practice.

When Mickelson drained a 10-footer on 18, he gave a hearty fist pump.

“I’m probably not as sharp as I would like to be,” the four-time major champion said. “I didn’t play well at the British, obviously. I didn’t play well last week, on the weekend, but I’m able to work on it. I had a good session with Butch and I believe that the game’s coming around. I’m not sure where I’ll be on Thursday, but hopefully I’ll be ready.”