"I can't keep focus" - Phil Mickelson opens up on tour woes

Phil Mickelson Valspar

Phil Mickelson has said that he is struggling to “keep focused” on the golf course as he gets older.

One such example of his recent troubles came on Friday at the Valspar Championship as Mickelson missed his third cut of the year.

Mickelson opened with a 73, but rallied on Friday and was one shot inside the cut line when it unravelled for the 50-year-old on the closing holes at Innisbrook.

From 40 feet just off the 16th green, he hammered a putt some eight feet by the hole and missed the next one to make bogey. On the 18th, he missed his drive well to the left into the trees, advanced it to some 70 yards and missed an eight-foot par putt that would have sent him into the weekend.

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“I know what my problem is. I'm not physically able to keep my focus,” Mickelson said. “As I've gotten older, I have a hard time focusing. And that's my challenge right now. I'm trying all different things to be able to elongate my ability to stay focused, or to refocus.”

Mickelson, who turns 51 in June, has gone more than two years since his last victory, and, since his runner-up finish in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational nine months ago, has not finished in the top-20.

“When I get called off shots, like cell phones ringing or people yelling or something, my physical ability to refocus — to back away and then refocus and so forth — I'm physically not able to do it right now,” Mickelson added. “So, I have to find techniques to be able to do that.”

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Mickelson, currently ranked 113th in the Official World Golf Rankings, is playing next week at the Wells Fargo Championship, and then has the PGA Championship in two weeks, where he is exempt for life as a past champion.

Still on the horizon for the American is the US Open at Torrey Pines. Mickelson had said last year, before the US Open had to do away with qualifying because of the pandemic, that he would not take a special exemption.

In the meantime, he said he is “meeting with a lot of people” to try to solve his concentration problems.

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“I go through spells of three or four holes, like I did Thursday, Friday at Augusta, where I’ll throw five, six shots away in a four-hole stretch and I just kind of go mind numb and my ability to regain focus has been the biggest challenge as I’ve gotten older,” he said. “I don’t have a great solution right now. But I’m working on it.”

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