SHANGHAI // Phil Mickelson says he is starting to play some of the best golf of his career after ending his season by winning the WGC-HSBC Champions. The world No 2's second success in three years in Shanghai was also his fourth tournament victory of a season that was turbulent off the course with both his wife and mother falling victim to breast cancer. Gritting out a victory over a strong field in a pressure-cooker of an atmosphere at the Sheshan International Golf Club convinced Mickelson he was close to his peak.
"I'm excited about 2010 because I'm starting to play the best golf of my career," the 39-year-old said. "And everything is starting to kind of come together as far as my driving, since working with Butch Harmon, my ball striking has been much better. "My short game is better than it's ever been. Going into 2010, not only am I excited about it, but I have very high expectations." Mickelson played the final round with Tiger Woods and, although the anticipated shootout never really materialised as the world No 1 started so poorly.
"It always feels good to win any tournament but certainly when you have a chance to go head-to-head - although, I know he didn't play his best today," he said. Mickelson's manner and success in China over the last three years has made him very popular with the locals, noticeably more so even than Woods among the thousands of fans that lined the course on Sunday. "I thought the gallery and the people were terrific," he added. "The galleries were much bigger than the past two years, and I'm very excited to see that people in China are getting excited about golf."
Mickelson, who finished his domestic season with victory at the Tour Championship and the President's Cup, will not get credit in the US PGA Tour money list for the US$1.2 million (Dh4.4m) he takes away from Shanghai. "I think it would have been great if it would count, but it doesn't take away the fact that I beat 15 of the 20 best players in the world," he said. * Reuters