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PGA Golf

Mickelson admits he’s ‘nervous,’ says Masters will be ‘awkward’ without Tiger


The Masters, the crown jewel of the PGA Tour season, if not the preeminent event in the global world of golf, set to begin on Thursday, Phil Mickelson revealed that he is somewhat “nervous” heading into the tournament.

He has good reason to be, as his game is nowhere near where he would like it to be as he prepares himself to take on the formidable challenge presented by Augusta National. Mickelson does not have a top 10 finish yet this season, meaning he may not have the confidence that he has what it takes to compete.

Still, the three-time Masters champion said he can rely on his past successes on the course to help him along as he tries to find his game.

“I’m certainly nervous, because this is a week that I care about the most,” said Mickelson, via Eye on Golf. “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.”

But he admits that the near-mythical surroundings of Augusta National still has the ability to leave him in awe and that makes this week such a special experience every year.

“It’s a magical place,” Mickelson said. “I don’t have to play perfect to play well here, because I can recover from mistakes here. You have a chance to let your short game save it for you.”

The absence of Tiger Woods, Mickelson’s chief — and only — rival as it comes to the quantity of major wins in recent history, certainly helps his chances, despite Tiger’s lengthy dry spell at majors.

But Mickelson nevertheless acknowledged that it will be “awkward” not to have Tiger stalking the grounds.

“It’s a weird feeling not having him here, isn’t it?” said Mickelson, via Sporting News. “He’s been such a mainstay in professional golf and in the majors. It’s awkward to not have him here. I hope he gets back soon. I hope he’s back for the other majors. As much as I want to win — and I know how great he is and tough to beat — it makes it special when he’s in the field and you’re able to win.”

Tiger’s absence, not to mention a strange correlation between Mickelson’s success and the particular year should leave Mickelson feeling that he can turn it around on golf’s biggest stage.

Eye on Golf dug up the following mind-blowing statistical nugget: In even-numbered years since 2000, Mickelson has finished in the top five at the Masters, including the three times he has donned the green jacket.

In fact, his average finish in even-numbered years (4th) is 18 spots higher than in odd-numbered years (22nd).

That is bizarre. But for Philly Dog, that must be oddly encouraging.