After wacky year, PGA sure to pack more surprises

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Mickelson dropped a bombshell Tuesday, disclosing that he has a form of arthritis that left him in so much pain the last two months he couldn’t walk. The condition is under control thanks to medication, and it should have no negative impact on his long- or short-term health.

As if that wasn’t enough of a shocker, Mickelson then announced he’s changed his diet, too, giving up his beloved burgers for broccoli and beans.

“I know, I know,” he said.

Mickelson said the arthritis didn’t affect his play at the U.S. Open or British Open. But he’s had two months’ worth of opportunities to claim the No. 1 ranking from Woods, and is still stuck on No. 2. He blew up Sunday at Firestone with a 78, his worst round in two years.

“I’m probably not as sharp as I would like to be,” said Mickelson, who only resumed his normal practice schedule last week. “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.”

Meanwhile, everyone else in the field is looking at that Wanamaker Trophy and picturing themselves hoisting it on Sunday night.

The PGA has a history of surprise winners _ Shaun Micheel anyone? Rich Beem? Lionel Hebert? _ but all of the majors are turning into a free-for-all of late. Five of the last six major championships have been won by first-timers, including the U.S. Open (Graeme McDowell) and the British Open (Louis Oosthuizen).

And, of course, Yang at last year’s PGA.

“I’ll be honest, the feeling in the locker room is slightly different,” Paul Casey said. “With the way (Woods) played the past week, guys feel like this is wide open, and that’s not a feeling that a lot of guys have had before.”

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