ROCHESTER: Phil Mickelson is buoyed by a British Open win, Tiger Woods is hungry after a five-year major drought and Rory McIlroy is trying to defend his title at the PGA Championship.
Golf’s top stars gather next week at Oak Hill Country Club for the 95th edition of the final major tournament of the year after a season that has brought disappointment, a measure of success and more than a few surprises.
Mickelson captured his fifth career major title two weeks ago at Muirfield and the 43-year-old American left-hander says he is playing well enough to add another Wanamaker Trophy to the one he captured in 2005.
“I’m playing as well as I ever have and want to make sure I stay focused,” said Mickelson. “I think there’s an opportunity to add to this year and make this year every bit as special as it can be.”
Woods looking to end Majors drought
Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the all-time record of 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, is trying to end a five-year span without a major. His last major title came at the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines.
“In that spell where I haven’t won since Torrey, I’ve been in there,” said Woods. “It’s not like I’ve lost my card and not been playing out here.
“I’ve won tournaments in that stretch and I’ve been in half the majors on the back nine on Sunday with a chance to win during that stretch. I just haven’t done it yet.”
McIlroy, who won last year at Kiawah Island for his second major title in as many seasons after his win at the 2011 US Open, has struggled for much of 2013 but is trying to relax and not be so emotional about a round or every shot.
“I’ve become a little too emotionally involved with my golf over the past few months,” said McIlroy. “I’ve let it either get me excited or get me down, where I should just not get too high or too low about it at all.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2013.
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