Which Phil Mickelson Will We See at the 2013 British Open Championship?

Fred AltvaterContributor IIJuly 15, 2013

Phil Mickelson and his family celebrate his Sottish Open win.
Phil Mickelson and his family celebrate his Sottish Open win.Warren Little/Getty Images

Let’s hop in the jet, kids, and take a two-week holiday to Scotland? We can try a little haggis, check out the Merino sheep and walk along a wind-swept beach. C’mon, it will be fun.

Watch out! Don’t get blown into the North Sea by a passing gale or squall.

Phil Mickelson's wife, Amy, and their children tagged along with dad to Scotland for the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart and for next week’s British Open at historic Muirfield Golf Club.

Dad did make it worthwhile, however, by winning the Scottish Open in a playoff over South Africa’s Branden Grace.

His €579,000 first-place check should be enough to cover the cost of hotels, rental cars, food and jet fuel for the two weeks.

His final round at Castle Stuart offers a perfect insight into the world of Mickelson. He made a double-bogey six at the first hole on Sunday and added a bogey at No. 3. He also rattled off birdies at Nos. 2, 4, 5 and 6. He turned the front nine in one-under-par 35, added three more birdies and a bogey on the back side. But he missed a four-foot putt at the last, which would have given him the win outright.

In between, he hit magnificent chips, holed long putts and missed some other easy putts. To be a Mickelson fan, one must accept the bitter with the sweet.

A World Golf Hall of Fame member, Mickelson seems to be in a very good frame of mind heading into the 2013 Open Championship next week at Muirfield. Officially, he has eight European Tour wins, but the win at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open is his first ever win on the European continent.

Mickelson won earlier this year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. If they were to put the word “management” in the British Open title, Phil would be sure to win.

He also has had two runners-up and two third-place finishes this year on the PGA Tour. He is currently in the fourth spot in the FedEx Cup rankings and No. 5 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Although Mickelson has missed three cuts in 2013, he is having one of his most consistent years on tour.

Mickelson is Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: You never know what you are going to get. He can pull off one of the most amazing shots ever witnessed and then miss a two-foot putt.

Mickelson is 43 years old and has been on the PGA Tour for 21 years. He has 41 career wins, including four major championship victories.

He has never won a U.S. Open or a British Open and is just itching to add a Claret Jug to his trophy case.

In the last three years, Mickelson has finished T-48, runner-up and missed the cut in the British Open. Over the years, he usually has not performed very well.

Phil has had an attitude adjustment over the years about links style golf. He was quoted recently in an article by Golf Channel's Ryan Lavner, "It's a hate-love relationship. I used to hate it, now I love it."

He is using a lower trajectory for his ball flight and fit his skills around the greens to links play. Whatever he has done seemed to work exquisitely at the Scottish Open last week.

Links golf is a different style of play from the pristine courses that the PGA Tour professionals face each week in the United States. Hard, fast fairways require the imagination of executing precisely-placed tee shots to avoid dangerous, cavernous pot bunkers and tall, thick heather grass.

Who has more imagination than Mickelson?

The greens on links style golf course have severe humps and bumps, and three-putts are always lurking to ruin a promising round.

In addition, there is always the wind and weather to add to the discomfort of the golfer. Links golf courses are built hard along the water. Wind direction and severity are always a concern. Sudden squalls or gales can completely derail a round and send a golfer wanting.

Just ask Tiger Woods about the 2002 Open Championship at Muirfield. He got caught in gale force winds and posted an 81 in his third round, which completely took him out of contention.

Which Phil will show up at the 2013 British Open Championship?

  A) A very happy Phil with a Scottish Open Trophy.

  B) A very content Phil with his family at his side.

  C) A very confident Phil after a win in Phoenix and a runner-up at the 2013 U.S. Open.

  D) A very relaxed Phil, satisfied with his place in golf history.

As far as the golf, the only consistent with Mickelson is his penchant for inconsistency.

Muirfield Golf Club has a history of identifying the best player of the era. The best player of this era is Woods.

But Mickelson would like to add his name to the list of Hall of Fame members who are past champions at Muirfield and add a British Open Championship to his resume.  

We never know what Mickelson we will see, but he is always entertaining to watch.