Well...the time off certainly flew! It's hard to say Phil Mickelson makes his "long awaited" return to the PGA TOUR next week at Firestone. But nonetheless...the sports second biggest star will once again grace us with that awkward smile...and fearless and far from conservative strategy.
The last time we saw Lefty was at Bethpage...where once again the US Open eluded him. Apparently Amy Mickelsons breast cancer surgery went well...as has her recovery. Ironic to say, but I guess it's a good thing Phil will be on the road away from his family again. That means wife and mother are doing well. Both Amy and Mary were diagnosed with breast cancer...and both are well enough for husband/son to be back at his job full time.
The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, played at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, is an elite event and one that most top ranked players would hate to miss. Mickelson is no exception. But if you're thinking Phil is coming back because of Fed Ex points, or even money list rankings, think again. He has six top 10 finishes already this season in only 12 events. He has earned nearly $4 million in prize money and still ranks sixth in the FedEx Cup standings. So its certainly not about where he stands in relation to the play-offs coming up soon. He has nothing to worry in that regard.
Phils seemingly quick return says two things. One, and thank goodness for this, both Amy and Mom are doing well. But it also speaks volumes to the "action" the guys on tour miss when they take time off. Especially for those players who are considered elite. Weeks without the grind and competition can actually be taxing. Not to mention spending so much time in hospitals and doctors offices, you can only imagine how badly Mickelson longed for the driving range!
Now he gets his chance. But which Phil will we see? A rusty, looks like he hasn't played in a while Phil. Or will we see the super talented, go for the gusto, let it all hang out Phil. (A lot less hanging out these days! Although a size or two larger shirt might benefit all of us!)
My guess is somewhere in between. He's too good to NOT make the cut. But he probably has been away too long to be in contention. And as far as a sentimental pick...not here...not now. See Bethpage Black. How did that go as far as sentimentality? But don't fret Phil fans. He'll be back...sooner than you can put the hybrid back in the bag...and reach for the big stick. Something the tour gets to taste again next week in Akron.