The Masters 2014: Phil Mickelson still nervous ahead of first major of the year despite his three previous wins at Augusta National
Mickelson already has three Green Jackets and could match Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer with a fourth but admits his preparation has been unusually hampered
Wednesday 09 April 2014
Phil Mickelson insists he is nervous about competing at Augusta National this week, despite having won three green jackets and recording 11 other top-10 finishes in the year's first major championship.
Mickelson broke his major duck in the Masters in 2004 and went on to claim the title in 2006 and 2010, the left-hander also winning the 2005 US PGA Championship and last year's Open at Muirfield.
But a combination of indifferent form and injuries means the 43-year-old is not as confident as might be expected about his chances of matching Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods by claiming a fourth victory here on Sunday.
"I'm nervous about this week because I always like coming into this week with a win," Mickelson said.
"I like coming into this week being in contention a few times and having that confidence and experience to build on.
"But I have to give myself a little bit of slack because I have not been 100 per cent. Last week I felt great, which I was surprised by, because I had pulled a muscle in Texas and withdrew.
"Physically I feel great. The parts of my game, if I break them down, they feel terrific. But I haven't put them together this year. I haven't had the results to fall back on.
"I haven't experienced that pressure to feel comfortable in that environment and so I'm certainly nervous, because this is a week that I care about the most. This is the most special tournament and I have to rely on kind of past performances and past successes and past memories to build that confidence."
Fortunately for Mickelson he has plenty of such memories to draw on, while the lack of punitive rough allows him to display his wide array of recovery shots.
"What I love about this course is the lack of rough allows you a recovery shot," he added.
"The limbs (of trees) are higher and you always have a chance to recover and that frees me up to not have to play tight, because one bad shot doesn't mean you're going to lose a shot.
"You always have a place to miss it, even on 13 and 15 and 11. I feel a lot looser when I play here which is why I've played well for 10 years prior to winning it."
Latest in Sport
Royal Rumble 2015: Roman Reigns triumphs after The Rock returns to set-up Wrestlemania showdown with Brock Lesnar
Google trolls Tottenham with Oxford dictionary definition of 'lackadaisical'
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Floyd Mayweather ends the carnival this week and picks his next fight - but will it be Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao or Miguel Cotto
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'