Masters Countdown: What's at stake for Phil Mickelson?

Can Phil Mickelson win his fourth Masters? (USATSI)
Can Phil Mickelson win his fourth Masters? (USATSI)

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The Masters is just around the corner (20 days, to be exact) and we're pretty excited. There's plenty of golf to be played between now and then but we also want to keep you informed about what's going on with Augusta.

Surely Phil Mickelson's eyes are on the prize that is the 2014 US Open which would complete his career grand slam. But I'm guessing he wouldn't mind another green jacket, either.

Mickelson, as usual, is one of the favorites for the 2014 Masters (12-1 odds) and he has as much at stake with his legacy as anyone playing.

I wrote last year that Mickelson was inching closer to a spot among the all-time top 10 golfers and in my mind a 2014 Masters title (or 2014 US Open title) would solidify it.

Mickelson would go from a five-way tie for fourth in Masters history with three Masters wins (Nick Faldo, Gary Player, Sam Snead, and Jimmy Demaret) to a three-way tie for second with four Masters wins (Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer).

Jack Nicklaus has six. You snag more than three and you're an automatic legend. 

The win would also give him six career majors which would be tied for 12th all time with Lee Trevino and Nick Faldo.

Don't think Mickelson doesn't know these things, either. He's as aware of his legacy as anyone, including us. 

He said after winning his first British Open last season that the US Open is the one he covets.

"I think that if I'm able to win the U.S. Open and complete the career Grand Slam, I think that's the sign of the complete, great player. I'm a leg away. And it's been a tough leg for me."

But four years ago after donning green for the third time in his career, he said Augusta is the one he most adores.

"I'm in love with this place," Mickelson said. "It just brings out the best in me."

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

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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