By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Phil Mickelson was at a loss to explain his performance at the 2013 Masters.
The man who has won three of the last 10 Masters only broke par once at Augusta National this week. And he followed that 71 on Thursday with rounds of 76, 77 and 73 to finish at 9 over.
"I just had an off year," Mickelson said. "I don't know what to tell you. I played poorly. ... This is my favorite place to be, my favorite tournament, and one I look forward to the day after it ends. And to perform like this is disappointing. I'm disappointed in myself because I expect a lot more of myself, out of my game and so forth this week."
The last time Mickelson failed to finish 72 holes in red numbers at the Masters was in 2007 when he shot 11 over and tied for 24th. That also happens to be the last time he didn't play the week before the Masters, as was the case this year when his normal stop, the Shell Houston Open, was moved up in the PGA TOUR schedule.
"I've got to look at that because the things I did this week to get ready I just wasn't as mentally sharp as I need to be, and I've got to find another way to get ready for big events if I'm not able to compete the week before," Mickelson said.
The big left-hander said he and his instructor Butch Harmon may have identified some things to work on during their practice session on Sunday, though. With the Wells Fargo Championship and THE PLAYERS Championship looming back-to-back in two weeks, such clarity couldn't happen a moment too soon.
"I had some technical issues or fundamental issues with my swing, and I've had it the last couple months, but I believe I have the direction now to work on it, so I'll spend some time in two weekends and see if I can get it ironed out for a good run at Charlotte and THE PLAYERS," Mickelson said.