It may be time for Phil Mickelson to take a short break from golf.
Yes, that's not a crowd-pleasing statement, as Lefty is always a favorite to watch and one of the world's most dynamic golfers.
Although, considering the way he's been playing lately, Mickelson certainly doesn't look to be in top form—both mentally and physically.
It's been a lackluster 2014 season so far for Mickelson. He's entered nine tournaments—including the Masters—and missed two cuts while failing to record any top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour—his lone second-place finish was at the European Tour's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
After making 16 consecutive cuts at Augusta National, Mickelson's five-over-par performance ended his streak, as Lefty took one too many shots through two rounds.
Health could be a concern for Mickelson. He was forced to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year due to back pain. He later withdrew from the Valero Texas Open due to a strained oblique.
As of now, Mickelson insists he's healthy; however, that could be put up for debate.
When Mickelson arrived at Augusta, he spoke of his nervousness about his game during a press conference recorded by Ron Borges of the Boston Herald:
I said last week that I'm nervous, and I am nervous. I'm nervous about this week because I always like coming into this week with a win. I like coming into this week being in contention a few times and having that confidence and experience to build on, but I have to give myself a little bit of slack because I have not been 100 percent.
Mickelson's health problems have not allowed him to gain any kind of momentum or confidence this year. His physical health seems to be affecting his mental state in a big way—which is arguably the most important aspect of every player's game heading into a major.
After recording one double bogey and two triple bogeys at the Masters, Mickelson couldn't explain what went wrong during an interview with Nancy Armour of USA Today:
"Why couldn't I get it going? You know, I don't really have a great answer for you. I've actually played reasonably well for a majority of the holes, and then the ones that I let slide I end up making a big number. So it's tough to overcome those big numbers."
The best remedy for this problem is to take a bit of time off, reflect and regroup.
No one likes to see Mickelson struggle in this way, and taking some time to himself could go a long way for Lefty to get back to his winning ways.
Mickelson is not slated to play in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town on Thursday. That's a good thing.
A little additional time off will allow Mickelson to feel better physically, which will affect his mental game in a positive manner. From there he can build plenty of confidence and gain much-needed momentum going forward.
A little confidence certainly goes a long way—even for the golfing world's elite.
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