CRAWFORD BLOG | Mickelson on practice tee early before final PGA - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD BLOG | Mickelson on practice tee early before final PGA round

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Phil Mickelson won't tee off in the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club until 2:45 this afternoon.

But he was on the practice tee this morning before 9 a.m., working on irons, and on his short game on the putting green.

It's not unusual for Mickelson, who likes to get himself up and going. He started the habit about a decade ago, and it has worked well for him at The Masters and before other tournaments. He has a short practice in the morning, heads back to wherever he is staying, has lunch and then comes back to the course to begin his regular pre-round regimen.

This time around, however, Mickelson admits that he will be working out the nerves. He hasn't been in the Top 10 of any major this year, and said he welcomed the chance to be back in contention.

"It's so fun for me to be back in the thick of it, have a chance, be in contention heading into Sunday and not having to get up at 6 o'clock to tee off -- if I get to tee off," Mickelson said. "So it's been a nice change."

Mickelson's remarkable longevity on the tour often isn't appreciated enough. This is only the third time since 1993 that he's come to the PGA Championship without a tour victory that season. He's had to pull out of three events since January with oblique soreness, and has said it has been a disappointing year for him, with his best finish an 11th place at the Wells Fargo Championships.

But he has a chance to make up for all of that today, just three shots behind leader Rory McIlroy when play begins.

"From my point of view, I have not played well, been in contention," Mickelson said. "I haven't won this year, and that's a negative. I'm playing a guy that's won the last two weeks he's played. He won the British Open and the World Golf at Akron. That's a huge disadvantage because I haven't been in the heat. I haven't been in that position this year and I'm certainly going to feel some pressure because I want to have an opportunity to make up for the entire year in one round. I'll certainly be feeling some pressure. Those five majors I've won really aren't much help going into the final round.

Whatever happens, Mickelson got an early start on making the day a special one.

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