LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Phil Mickelson will be the first to admit he’s a bit streaky.
Sure, it’s been more than a year since his last victory.
Then he goes and makes 10 birdies while shooting 62 on the final day at Firestone.
Just like that, Lefty is being mentioned as one of the favorites at the PGA Championship.
Can he keep it up?
Mickelson has no idea.
“If I could answer that question, it would be a lot easier,” he said Tuesday after a practice round at Valhalla Golf Club. “It’s been 20-plus years and things are just that way. Rather than question it or try to find an answer, I just accept it as being the way it is and look forward to it when it does happen. It’s fun when it does.”
Mickelson hasn’t had a lot of fun since winning the British Open at Muirfield nearly 13 months ago. He failed to crack the top 20 at any of the last four majors. His highest finish on the PGA Tour is 11th. His putting got so shaky that he experimented with a claw grip during the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, only to switch back to a conventional style right in the middle of the tournament.
He looked downright lost.
Nothing changed through the first two rounds of the Bridgestone Invitational, when Mickelson’s belief that his game was rounding into form was shattered by rounds of 71 and 73.
“It would be out of nowhere for me to play well,” he grumbled just last Saturday.
The very next day, Mickelson put up his lowest round since a 60 at the 2013 Phoenix Open.
“It’s just kind of the way I play golf,” he said. “I’m streaky. I’ll get on rolls and get some good momentum, and all of a sudden the hole looks huge. Then there are days where it’s just the opposite. It’s just the way it’s always been for me. I don’t have a great answer.”
More than anyone, Mickelson realizes the way he was feeling just a few days ago may be gone by the time he tees off in the final major championship of the year.
“In this game, things can turn around, really, in an instant,” he said. “I’m interested to see how it goes Thursday and Friday. But certainly my confidence level and my practice sessions are totally different. I don’t feel like I’m searching. I feel like now I’m just trying to acquire that same feel from Sunday, and I feel like I’ve found what I’m looking for. I just have to maintain it.”