The 2013 Masters start this week at Augusta National Golf Club as the world’s best try to make their claim for the green jacket. Reigning champion Bubba Watson will be looking to defend his title against some of the top players in the world, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson, known by many fans as “Lefty”, hasn’t played well of late, although the Masters could be where Phil turns it on, as he’s won the tournament three times.
However, in order to win his fifth Major Championship, Mickelson will have to play at a different level than we’ve seen him at lately. I don’t see him being successful this week, and here are the reasons Mickelson has no chance of cracking the top five in this year’s Masters.
Phil Mickelson is no spring chicken. The 42-year-old is growing in years, and it’s showing on the golf course more and more each year.
There’s no doubt that Mickelson has had a great career, but he just might be getting too old to perform at a high level. Lefty has added 43 tour wins to his resume dating back more than 20 years ago when his first victory came in 1991.
Although older guys have shown they're capable of winning Majors, age will continue to be a factor in his play.
Another reason Mickelson will struggle this weekend in Augusta is because of his play of late.
In 2012, he only had one tournament win that came at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last February. Even though he’s already acquired a tour victory this season, Mickelson has finished in the top-10 only twice through eight events in 2013.
More importantly, the last two events he’s entered have not gone well. He missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, then finished 16th last weekend at the Shell Houston Open. These results did not build the momentum Mickelson needed heading into the Masters.
As mentioned, Mickelson has had a decent amount of success in Majors throughout his career, but that’s all in the past. Since Phil’s win at the 2010 Masters, he’s only finished in the top-10 in Majors three times over the last three years.
Over the same period of time, Tiger Woods has the same amount of top-10 finishes in what many would consider the worst stretch of his career.
A large factor contributing to Mickelson’s poor results lately is the quality of competition he’s opposing every week.
The golf game has increased overall in recent years due to the play of rising talents like Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson.
All of these athletes have proven they can win on tour, and that list didn’t include the new No. 1 player in the world, Tiger Woods. Woods regained his top spot after winning back-to-back events at the World Golf Championships and Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Putting wins Majors. Too many times in the past we’ve seen potential champions lose their lead and composure on the putting green.
Phil Mickelson is no different. Throughout his career, putting has never been his strong suit, often missing crucial putts that make all the difference on Sundays.
So far in 2013, Mickelson ranks 45th in strokes gained putting, which will not be beneficial for him in his attempt to crack the top of the leaderboard.