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The Tour Report

September 12 2012

6:24 PM

Miller: Mickelson not 'back' just yet

Live Report Image
Little/Getty Images
Despite his midseason struggles, Phil Mickelson ranks fifth in strokes gained-putting.
By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM Is Phil Mickelson back? His play in the FedExCup Playoffs would certainly indicate the affirmative. Johnny Miller isn’t so sure. Not yet, anyway. "Well, obviously covered Phil last week (at the BMW Championship), and he's still a guy that doesn't really know where the ball is going off the tee,” Miller, the NBC golf analyst, said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “But he did drive it better. … But he's fun to watch. You never know where he's going to hit it. He can get it up and in from anywhere. “I wouldn't call him quote, unquote, ‘back,’ because you never know shot to shot, let alone week to week, what he's going to do.” In any case, Mickelson has done quite well of late, especially since he switched to a modified claw putting grip in the third round of The Barclays. Since his switch, Mickelson has carded eight of his past 10 rounds in the 60s to lead him to a pair of top fives at both the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship. It put Mickelson at No. 4 in the FedExCup standings, meaning he wins the FedExCup with a victory at next week’s TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. "I'm really pleased with the way my game has come around the last two weeks," Mickelson said Sunday night after finishing tied for second at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind. Mickelson ranks fifth in strokes gained-putting this season, and it’s possible that more confidence on the greens has helped him tee-to-green as well. “Now that he's putting well, that takes pressure off the big game,” Miller said. “So I think that's what's happened, he's finally got true confidence in his putting and that's taken the pressure off the big game and that's helping him there, too. So East Lake, he can be a factor if he gets off to a good start.”