x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Mickelson gets back on course

The world No 2 swiftly backtracks after going overboard in his praise for St Andrews as a venue for the Open.

ST ANDREWS // Phil Mickelson was so captivated by his return to his beloved St Andrews this week that he suggested that the Old Course should be the stage for the British Open every year. When it dawned on the world No 2 that his remarks would be greeted with shrieks of horror in clubhouses at all of the other top links courses in the United Kingdom, he desperately tried to retrace his steps.

"I didn't realise I was opening that door," he said when asked to expand on his call for St Andrews to become the permanent home of the Open. "I wasn't making a call for that to happen, just expressing an opinion. So we had better leave it there." Mickelson's comment was borne out of his belief that St Andrews provides him with his best chance of adding a British Open to his hat-trick of Masters titles and the US PGA championship he won in 2005.

"Jack Nicklaus once said that a career just doesn't feel complete unless you've won here," said Mickelson, who could take the top ranking from Tiger Woods by lifting the Claret Jug on Sunday evening. "I think all the players feel the same way. "I just think this is a golf course that every player would love to win on, and I just love playing it. "It would be very special if I could win here." Mickelson reckons his aggressive approach to the game has a better chance of reaping rewards at St Andrews than other Open venues.

"You can hit driver on just about every hole," he said. "And there's plenty of room on a number of holes. I feel like it gives you a much bigger option off the tee, and it's a great second-shot golf course where you almost always have a shot into the green."