Surprise! Phil Mickelson thinks he could be even better in 2014

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

Phil Mickelson is pretty stoked about 2014. (USATSI)
Phil Mickelson is pretty stoked about 2014. (USATSI)

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Phil Mickelson's hall-of-fame plaque should say "Phil Mickelson, X-time major winner, eternal optimist."

He was strutting some of that optimism on Tuesday in Dubai when he started talking about what he expects from himself in 2014.

"There is one thing that makes me very excited about 2014," Mickelson said. "As I look back on 2013, I played some of my best golf and had some huge breakthroughs. But I did most of it without a driver.

"This year, I have the best driver that I have ever hit. It lowers my spin rate, just like the three-wood. I drive it longer and straighter with my driver than I did with my three-wood. It's a whole different weapon in my arsenal now.

"If I drive the ball well, like I have been in practice and during this off-season, heading into this 2014 season then it could be the best year of my career for that simple reason."

Well, of course!

If you drive better than you did last year and everything else stays the same, you'll probably be better.

But...

Sometimes I think Mickelson says this stuff about equipment just to psyche himself up, to help himself rise to the occasion.

Not that the new Callaway Big Bertha Alpha driver isn't great -- I think it is -- it's just that I don't know just how much difference it will actually make this year (it will be fascinating to look at his total driving at the end of the year).

Mickelson also addressed the question he'll get asked about all season.

"I do believe that I'll win a US Open," Mickelson said. "I don't know if it's [to be] at Pinehurst this year. Very well could be, or in the future.

"I play well in that tournament too often to not believe or be confident in my ability to close that tournament out. But any major championship would make 2014 a memorable year."

The optimist's optimist.

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

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