Phil Mickelson's 2013 Masters was an aberration—a horrible overall performance that won't happen again for a long, long time.
Lefty finished in a tie for 54th place—only four golfers finished lower after making the cut. It was his worst showing at Augusta since he missed the cut in 1997.
He carded a 77 on Friday and a 76 on Saturday—two of his worst rounds at Augusta in his career, according to ESPN's Justin Ray:
Phil Mickelson's 77 today ties his worst career round at Augusta. Only 6 rounds at Masters of 76/worse in career - 2 in last 2 days.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) April 13, 2013
This wasn't a typical performance from Mickelson at Augusta.
From 1998 to 2012, Mickelson competed in 16 Masters, winning three, placing in the top 10 an astonishing 12 times and placing in the top three seven times.
That's Mickelson's norm.
One bad tournament won't define him, nor will it keep him from being one of the men challenging for the green jacket in 2014.
After the tournament, Mickelson spoke to reporters about his struggles, via USA TODAY Sports:
I just had an off year. I don't know what to tell you. I played poorly. Today was the first time that (swing coach Butch Harmon) and I—we had some good direction, and I'll have something to work on these next two weeks before I play at Charlotte and The Players.
But this was disappointing for me in that this is my favorite place in the world to play. And to perform like this is disappointing. I'm disappointed in myself because I expect a lot more of myself, out of my game and so forth this week.
It's important to note that Mickelson didn't participate in a tournament the week before he traveled to Augusta, as is his custom. The Shell Houston Open was scheduled to be played the week before this year's Masters, but a schedule change moved it up a week.
This schedule change negatively impacted Mickelson's preparation for the Masters, according to Rex Hoggard of GolfChannel.com: “I just wasn’t as mentally sharp as I needed to be,” Mickelson said. “I need to find another way to prepare for big weeks if I can’t play the week before.”
Golfers are creatures of habit. They get a routine that works for them and stick with it until it doesn't work any more. Even when it stops working, its a mental struggle to come up with a different game plan.
There aren't many golfers on the PGA Tour who have had as much consistent success at Augusta National as Mickelson. His track record of being in contention year in and year out at the Masters is nearly as impressive as what Tiger Woods has done throughout career.
Make no mistake about it: Mickelson will find a way to come back and play well at the 2014 Masters, and there's a good chance he'll win another green jacket before he's finished.
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