Phil Mickelson has unlocked the secret to putting

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

Phil Mickelson said one key to winning the 2013 British Open is avoiding these bunkers. (USATSI)
Phil Mickelson said one key to winning the 2013 British Open is avoiding these bunkers. (USATSI)

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This is why we love Phil Mickelson: when he speaks, we see so much of ourselves in him. When he flails about like a beached octopus on the golf course, we get it. When he does Phil things, we say, "Hey, I've done that before."

We think if we were professional golfers, we might just be like Phil Mickelson. Except that he has 41 PGA Tour wins and four majors and a Ryder Cup and is one of the 12 best golfers in the history of the sport.

Other than that, though, we're just like him.

On Tuesday at Muirfield, Mickelson said something about his short game that you have likely said to your weekend golf buddy, wife or really anyone who will listen to you drone on about your game.

"I believe I have kind of found the secret to my own putting, and what I need to do to putt well. And every single day now for the last year, it's been the same thing, and I've been putting really well," said Mickelson.

Of course, as Sam Weinman of GolfDigest pointed out on Twitter, this is the 187th major in a row that Mickelson has "discovered" something about his game.

You know what, though. Maybe with Phil it only matters that he can convince himself he has figured something out. Maybe that's all he needs to get "good Phil" inside his own head for the week.

As he continued, the quote got even better. When pressed for the secret that he'd figured out, Mickelson declined comment.

"I'm not going to discuss it. I feel that I've kind of keyed in on something, and I don't really want to share," he said.

Again, this is why we love him.

When asked about links golf, he also had a humorous remark: "It's a hate/love ... I used to hate it, and now I love it."

I was interested to see him talk about strategy and the course itself, too. Everybody takes a different approach to majors (Mickelson sometimes takes a really different approach), and it's fascinating to me to track that strategy over the course of the week.

Mickelson first commented on the rough at Muirfield:

"Yeah, I think the key to the rough is staying out of it."

So far, so Mickelson.

"I'm not going to carry [a driver] this week, no. I feel like the 64-degree wedge on this firm ground can save me some shots, and I just don't see how a driver is going to help me in any areas. I'm able to hit that 3-wood on this firm ground every bit as close enough in distance on the holes."

He continued. "And distance on any tee shot is not even in my mind. It's avoiding bunkers, avoiding rough, getting the ball in the fairway. And I can do it a lot easier with clubs other than driver."

Sounds about right for Lefty. It's interesting that he's basically taking distance off the tee out of it. I think a lot of the veterans will do that -- Tiger Woods said earlier in the day that he had barely even fiddled with his driver.

Mickleson is no dummy (though he sometimes plays one on TV). He knows that patience is the name of the game at British Opens.

"I think to do well, you have to have fun with it. You have to enjoy that challenge, because it can get very frustrating because of its difficulty."

Finally, he commented on the difficulty of winning back-to-back weeks, especially when one of those is a major:

"No, it's difficult. I mean, it's difficult to win the week before a major and then follow it up winning the major. But, then again, the last person to do it, you're looking at him."

Except that he wasn't. Mickelson won the BellSouth Classic and the Masters in back-to-back weeks in 2006, but Tiger won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship in 2007.

See. This is why we love him.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

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