Phil Mickelson is made for the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. It's hard to discount him, despite his recent run of inconsistent play. After a triple bogey on the fourth hole in the final round last year sealed his fate, Mickelson will respond this year by winning the tournament.
In last year's event, Mickelson entered the final day of play just a shot behind the lead with a chance to compete for his fourth green jacket. It all came crashing down on the fourth hole when his tee shot went astray and ended up in the bushes.
Mickelson finished the round strongly, but wasn't able to overcome the downfall of the fourth hole. He finished third overall.
This year he won't be so unlucky.
The biggest concern for Mickelson has been his lack of consistency. To start the year, he struggled in the Humana Challenge and the Farmers Insurance Open, finishing tied for 37th and tied for 51st, respectively. He then went on to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open with incredible play. His play has been up and down since.
While it might seem hard to peg which Mickelson shows up, this isn't just any tournament. Since 1999, Mickelson has finished in 10th place or worse just three times. Ten times in his career he's finished in the top five of the event.
Heading into the tournament, it would seem that Tiger Woods is the likely favorite. Woods hasn't exactly proven to be the most consistent player in his attempted return to glory. Rory McIlroy's struggles seem to have further opened the door for another player to jump in.
Mickelson not only usually plays well at the Masters, but also definitely has a chip on his shoulder this time around. He will be hungrier than ever after letting a chance at the title slip away with an unlucky and untimely shot last year.
Mickelson needs to keep his composure and focus throughout the tournament. He has a great shot to earn his fourth green jacket, while also holding off Tiger Woods from getting his fifth. He will use the disappointing result from last year as fuel and burn through the competition.