September 01, 2014
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Phil Mickelson needs a solid week at Cherry Hills to advance to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NORTON, Mass. -- Phil Mickelson says he'll be trying for a much later tee time on Sunday in the final round of the upcoming BMW Championship.
And he'll need one, too, if Mickelson is to extend his streak of making it to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola each year the FedExCup Playoffs have been contested.
The five-time major champion faces an uphill battle later this week at Cherry Hills, where he won the 1990 U.S. Amateur. Only the top 30 advance to the Playoffs finale and Mickelson will likely enter the week ranked No. 56 after tying for 46th at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Mickelson, who has only had one top-10 this season, entered the Playoffs ranked 45th. He then dropped 12 spots when he finished 78th at The Barclays but picked up one on Monday at TPC Boston after finishing off a final-round 67 with three straight birdies.
Cherry Hills is making its Playoffs debut this week. The PGA TOUR is also making its return to the Denver area for the first time since the final International at Castle Pines in 2006.
"I had some success there," said Mickelson, a two-time winner of The International. "And I've always loved playing at that altitude."
Mickelson said he hasn't gotten a chance to play Cherry Hills since his U.S. Am victory. He stopped at the course once, but didn't tee it up.
"I love that golf course," said Mickelson, who beat Manny Zerman 5 & 4 to win the title. "... I have a picture of every hole painted in my mind from 24 years ago. And I'm so excited to go back there."
Mickelson's other opponents that week were John Grace, Jeff Thomas, Mark Swingle, Bob May and David Eger. Of interest in his 6 and 5 victory over Thomas was what transpired on the first green -- Mickelson gave his opponent a par putt of between 20-40 feet, depending on what account you read, before making his 4-footer for birdie.
According to usga.com, Mickelson said at the time that he conceded the putt to "put some pressure on myself." But the confident lefthander now admits he basically just didn't want to wait while Thomas, who had taken two minutes to hit his chip, lined up the putt.
Mickelson thinks his experience playing in Denver, which is nicknamed the "Mile High City," will help this week at Cherry Hills.
"The altitude requires different shots," he explained. "I think that there's some things that give me a bit of an advantage -- past knowledge on how far shots fly, club selection and so forth. I'm looking forward to having a good week."
Phil Mickelson’s second shot yields birdie on No. 17 at Deutsche Bank