Phil Mickelson U.S. Open 2010: His Five Most Compelling Quotes This Week
All week, Phil Mickelson and the rest of the 2010 U.S. Open field have been getting a feel for the newly laid-out Pebble Beach.
Early reports are buzzing about the speed of the greens. Have the course architects made the course unplayable? Will this weekend's winner be right around even par come Sunday?
Phil Mickelson, the newly anointed most popular golfer in America, took to the podium earlier this week to discuss the course and other more overarching topics.
From Pebble Beach to his legacy, here are Phil Mickelson's five most compelling quotes from this week.
What would it mean to win an Open at Pebble Beach?
"The condition, I think it's the best U.S. Open setup that I've seen. I think the one area of concern I have is the greens, they're so small and they're so firm that, given that there's not any forecast for rain, I'm certainly concerned that we could have 14 potential 7th holes at Shinnecock, if we're not careful."
This has been a common thread of concern among players during the practice rounds.
Renowned for its unforgivingly fast greens, Pebble Beach could cause Lefty fits, as he has run into his gravest trouble when his short game betrays him.
Are you motivated to try to become the world's No. 1 ranked player?
"I feel if I play good golf that will happen. I don't know the ranking system or world points or how that works, nor do I care, I just know that if I continue to play well, ultimately in the long run, it will happen."
With Tiger Woods' personal life having spiraled out of his control, and his game along with it, Mickelson is finally in a position to assume the world's number one ranking.
Here are the scenarios:
-If Lefty wins, he's the new No. 1.
-If Lefty finishes second and Tiger finishes outside of the top four, he's the new No. 1.
-If Lefty finishes third and Tiger finishes outside of the top 18, he's the new No. 1.
-If Tiger misses the cut, Lefty has to tie for third place to assume the No. 1 ranking.
My prediction? Mickelson will be the world's best by weekend's end.
What's different (about your game) now than a couple of years ago?
"Distance control, variety of shots into greens, short irons, being able to take spin off, landing the ball consistently at the right yardage, short game more consistent, putting fast greens better, reading greens better, rolling it better, certainly driving it better, when you look at each area."
So, basically, every facet of Lefty's game is much improved, at least according to him.
He'll need rely on all of these improved skills if he wants to be in contention come Sunday, especially given the state of the greens.
Remember "green reading" and "putting fast greens better" while watching Phil play this weekend.
In an Open, do you have to rein yourself in or fight your instincts?
"No, I don't. And the reason is I want to play aggressive into the green. I don't want to play aggressive off the tee, per se, I want to play aggressive at the pin."
With Pebble Beach's narrow fairways, the strategy makes sense (ahem, Tiger.)
As is always the case, iron play and putting will determine the U.S. Open's winner.
Do you think about how your career will be remembered?
"Not really. I really don't. You could say that about any player about some tournament. Nicklaus never won in Canada (laughter). I mean, come on. So we could do stuff like that.
We could talk about Arnold not winning a PGA, I'd rather talk about the four Masters he won, or the win he had at Cherry Hills or what he did at Birkdale. He's done so many great things, I like to look at that."
All that could be true, but without a U.S. Open title under his belt, Lefty's name will never be discussed among the elite tier of golfers in the years to come.
And, having just turned 40 on Tuesday, time may be running out for him.