After last week, Phil Mickelson's stock, and World Golf Ranking, rose meteorically. He went from in a lull to in the driver's seat.
He shouldn't be the favorite for the Masters, though. At a six to one (or seven depending on who you ask) favorite, Mickelson is the top dog, with Tiger Woods around an eight or a nine.
Phil is the favorite by the odds, but everything points to him coming up short.
First off, he is the defending champion. That may not carry much weight to some, but it does in Augusta. Only three men have successfully won back to back years at the Masters, being Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.
While Phil can overcome this, back to backs are still something that is not done on a frequent basis at any tournament.
It's not just his win last year that is cause for concern; it's his win last week. Yet again, winning back to backs, this time in consecutive weeks, is highly unlikely, even more so than being a defending champion. Not only is the stigma of winning a detracting factor, the physical toll can be difficult.
While golf may not be the most physical sport, it still does require flexibility and back strength. Unfortunately for Phil, he has neither of those, and he might rather have them. Phil has psoriatic arthritis in his wrist. The issue caused by psoriatic arthritis is joint issues and pain. Like I have said, Phil can overcome this fault too, but it is going to take a little luck and whatever necessary medications to keep him from feeling pain.
Once you get past those things, there's also the lack of effort being put into. Phil has admitted to slacking off on his game. Who can blame him? He is doing what is right for his family, and I respect him for that. However, it doesn't help his game, no matter how noble the cause (and Phil's is the MOST noble).
Where Phil's game saw some issues without practicing like normal was his short game. He couldn't find the cup on the green, and his chipping was not what we were accustomed to.
I know the argument that is going to be used. Phil played out of his mind last week. But still, one week is not a return to form. If Tiger wins, how many people are going to say he is back at the top of the game?
Just because Phil had it all going last week does not mean it is going to stay this week. Just because he has dominated Augusta before doesn't mean he will this week. And especially this week. All of the logic in the world would say that Phil Mickelson would not be the favorite at any other tournament with the same circumstances (defending champ, won last week). Just because it's the Masters doesn't make it any more likely that he will win.
And with this week, it just is not logical to label Phil Mickelson as the favorite.