US Open: Mickelson in spotlight

Phil Mickelson once took the day off before a major to attend the Buffalo Bills' NFL training camp.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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Mamaroneck, New York:Phil Mickelson once took the day off before a major to attend the Buffalo Bills' NFL training camp. Two years ago at the Ryder Cup, he spent his final day of practice on an adjacent course being used for overflow parking and corporate chalets. Lefty has always done things a little differently. No one can argue with his methods now because they're working. Mickelson arrived at Winged Foot club as the winner of the last two majors, and with a victory at the US Open he can join Tiger Woods as the only players in the last 50 years to win three straight. Having studied Winged Foot close to a dozen times during the last two months, and wanting to escape the carnival atmosphere which has gripped US majors in recent years, Mickelson headed to New Jersey for a leisurely round on a course which holds great memories. Major streak It was at Baltusrol where his major streak began 10 months ago, when he hit a flop shot out of the mangled rough to tap-in range for birdie and a one-shot victory at the US PGA Championship. Then came the Masters, where Mickelson quickly separated himself from a world-class leaderboard. Suddenly, the guy who couldn't win a major has a chance to win three in a row. "I'm not trying to win three, I'm just trying to win one,'' Mickelson said. "I know I can play well in this tournament, even though it doesn't necessarily fit my perception of how I've played with the thick rough. I still have had some success here, and all I'm trying to do is be successful on this one golf course at this one event.'' It starts on Thursday at Winged Foot, a vicious course because of its multiple layers of rough which frame narrow fairways, cavernous bunkers and greens with severe slopes. (AP)

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