Optimism drives Phil Mickelson despite failure at Pinehurst
Lefty eyes defence of British Open title after dream of career grand slam is dashed
Phil Mickelson looked with optimism at defending his British Open golf title next month after his dream of completing a career grand slam with a US Open triumph ended in disappointment.
On the eve of his 44th birthday, the American left-hander fired a final-round 72, two-over par, on Sunday at Pinehurst to finish on seven over 287, 16 strokes behind German winner Martin Kaymer in a share of 28th.
Mickelson, who has finished second at the US Open a record six times, said he remained confident he would one day win the national championship.
"I believe in the next five years I'm going to have three or four really good chances and I do believe I will get it," Mickelson said. "I'm not upset or disappointed. I will have more chances."
Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen are the only players to have won each of the four majors at least once.
"It didn't happen this week, but I feel confident it will happen in the coming years," Mickelson said. "Hopefully, I'll get it done. It would be one of the great career achievements if I could get it."
The three-time Masters winner has not had a top-10 finish in a US PGA event this year and, as he prepares to defend his crown from Muirfield next month at Hoylake, he must work on his putting. Short-putt misses doomed his hopes by the weekend even as, he says, other areas of his game are rounding into shape.
"I've got to get some momentum and get my game sharp for me to really have a chance at winning, and I'm going to spend the next five, six weeks seeing if I can get that going to finish the year strong," Mickelson said.
"My game's slowly coming back. For me to throw five shots away each day and to easily make the cut and move up, I don't feel like I'm that far off, but I've got some work to do."
That means working on his plans to defend the Claret Jug.
"I'll start getting ready for Hoylake and I'm optimistic about the end of the year, but I'm excited about the coming years, too," Mickelson said.