Golf to a Different Drummer: Phil Mickelson Is the New Seve Ballesteros

Rob FergusonContributor IFebruary 26, 2009

Phil Mickelson is known for two things: The best wedge game on tour, and being erratic down the stretch. Lefty has become the modern Seve Ballesteros. He will hit it 30 yards left or right (even with short-irons), drop four-shot leads, find places on the golf course nobody knew existed, and still win. Yesterday's match against Angel Cabrera was a perfect example of this.

Yesterday, Phil was four-up through 13 holes. All he had to do was to halve two holes between 14 and 18, and he would have won the match. But, that is not the Phil Mickelson way. The cameras stopped following Phil after 13, and when they paid attention again he was All Square standing on the 18th tee.

On the 18th hole, Cabrera seemed to give the hole away to Phil by yanking an iron into the left rough 225 yards away from the green. Phil hit a beautiful drive down the centre of the fairway, and was left with 155 yards downwind. 

With a short-iron in his hand he blocked it 30 yards left of the hole. That is 30 yards with a short-iron. Think about that. With one block, he opened the door again for Cabrera. Phil ended up winning, but he kept giving his opponents chances to beat him.

Last week at Riviera, Phil took a four-shot lead going into the final round. Coming down the stretch he lost his lead to Steve Stricker. This was due to his inability to find the fairway with the driver.

However, on 17 and 18 (under lots of pressure) he piped two drivers beautifully down the centre of the fairway on his way to winning the tournament.

Phil is the most fun player to watch on the PGA Tour today, because you just never know what is going to happen. Like Seve a generation before him, he can be erratic and still win. He may not be the most comfortable guy to watch, but I find it impossible not to root for him.