Phil Mickelson admits that he is nervous ahead of this week’s US Masters, which begins on Thursday.
This will be the American’s 21st time playing at the famous Augusta course, but the experienced campaigner has revealed that he is still feeling nervous ahead of golf’s most famous start date.
“I’m nervous about this week because I always like coming into this week with a win,” Mickelson said to reporters in Augusta.
“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.”
There were fears that Mickelson would be forced to miss the competition, after he pulled out of the Texas Open, two weeks ago, with a muscle sprain.
However, the three time Masters winner showed few signs of injury at the Shell Houston Open, as he finished in an impressive T12 position, his best finish in nine competitions, with his score at -7 for the tournament.
““Physically, I feel great,” the 43-year-old said. “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.”
Consistency is something that Mickleson may be striving to find this season, but he can take solace in his previous Masters results. He is one of the most successful players at Augusta, of all time, and usually is in the shake up on the final day. Indeed, 12 top ten finishes in the last 15 years represents this fact.
It is clearly a course that he enjoys and the six-time major winner admits that he is still as excited as ever to be playing at Augusta.
He said: “This is my favourite week, and the course is in spectacular condition, as always.
“It’s a magical place to begin with but for me personally the feeling that comes over me as I drive down Magnolia Lane is I don’t have to play perfect to play well here, because I can recover from mistakes here.
“You always have a shot. You have a chance to salvage your par. You have a chance to let your short game save it for you. And if I do hit a number of good shots, I’m able to make birdies.”
He continued: “This course has always been a course that I felt comfortable on and I’ve played some of my best golf here.
“I just love everything about this tournament. That win 10 years ago, it just propelled me. And I knew once I won one, I really felt confident I would win a few (more).”
Mickleson is amongst the favourites to take home the green jacket once again this year and is rated as a 14/1 shot by most bookmakers. Only Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy have been given shorter odds.
Mickleson has previously won the US Masters title in 2004, 2006 and 2010. If he is to win this year he will be only the fourth golfer to win the green jacket on four separate occasions, alongside Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer.
“Lefty”, as he is affectionately known, was ‘not scored’ in the par three competition earlier today, but went round in +6.
When the serious stuff begins, he will tee-off in a trio with Ernie Els and Justin Rose at 18:48 GMT.
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