Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mickelson’s Masters Preparations hit Snag

Phil Mickelson’s hopes of landing a fourth Masters title were dealt a blow following after the 42-year old opted out of playing in a warm-up event ahead of the first major of the year.

Mickelson has always liked to play the week before a major, but the left-hander decided against playing the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio because the tournament did not offer the right conditions in which he could prepare for what he will come up against at Augusta.

Previously, the final event before Augusta was the Shell Houston Open at the Redstone GC Tournament Course, but a switch in the schedule saw that event moved forward by a week, throwing off Mickelson’s preparations for the Masters.

He was fourth in Houston before his impressive third place at Augusta last year and also played there the week before winning the 2010 Masters.

Before that, the pre-Masters event had been the BellSouth Classic at Sugarloaf - which was another tournament prepared with Augusta very much in mind - and Mickelson won there before his 2004 Masters success.

Mickelson has admitted to US Masters betting pundits that he is concerned by his lack of competitive action in the run-up to the season’s first major, especially taking into consideration the unforgiving nature of the course at Augusta.

"I find when I take a week off I come out just mentally not sharp. The more I play, the sharper I get, and usually the second or third tournament is when I play my best,” revealed Mickelson.

"So that's why I like to have a tournament before a major, because a major's penalty for a miss is so severe, you've got to be sharp on each shot right from the gate."

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