Raise your hand if you've seen Phil Mickelson in contention lately.
If you put your hand up, stop being sarcastic. Lefty has had an uneven 2012, especially of late, and I'm sure he would like nothing more than to put a cherry on top of a sour season by winning the PGA Championship.
Before you go accusing me of being too hard on Mickelson, have you seen his recent results?
|Bridgestone Invitational||43||284 (+4)
|British Open||Missed Cut||151 (+11)|
|The Greenbrier Classic||Missed Cut||142|
|U.S. Open||65||296 (+16)|
In all, Mickelson has missed three cuts this year, won one tournament (AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am), and had extremely disappointing showings at the last two majors. To be fair, he also finished third at the Masters and has five top-10 finishes this season, so it's not like 2012 has been disastrous.
Perhaps I'm focusing too much on his recent play. After all, Lefty has never been the most consistent player from tournament to tournament. His sometimes erratic play—which wavers from poor play that confounds to absolute brilliance—is a part of his charm.
But you have to go all the way back to 2007 to find the last time Lefty missed a cut at a major championship, when he did so twice at the British and U.S. Opens.
And maybe I'm just disappointed that the big stars of golf haven't been clutch of late. Tiger Woods can't win a major these days, while Rory McIlroy hasn't yet developed into golf's "Next Big Thing" like we all envisioned after he dominated the 2011 U.S. Open.
Parity is fun for awhile, but eventually, you want to tune in to see a dominating, inspiring run of play. Mickelson is one of the few players capable of doing that, and he hasn't shown it very often this year.
Am I being greedy? Is it too much to ask for a few brilliant rounds this weekend? Am I holding Mickelson to a standard he doesn't deserve?
You be the judge. Ultimately, I can only tell you that I've been disappointed by his 2012, and I think from a purely competitive perspective, he probably has been too.
I'll leave you with this—according to Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press, "Mickelson has qualified for every Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team since 1995."
He's currently at No. 8 in the standings, and a poor PGA Championship could cost him an automatic spot. He could still be a captain's pick, but it's been a long time since it's come to that.
It turns out a whole lot is riding on the PGA Championship. For Lefty, it's time to bring back his A-game.
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