Bringing on back the good times could be Mickelson's mantra

Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:46am EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - 'Bringing On Back The Good Times' was a chart hit in the 1960s and the sentiment could be true of Phil Mickelson this week as he bids to retain the British Open title he won so spectacularly last year.

The popular American produced a memorable closing 66 to emerge from the pack and snatch victory at Muirfield 12 months ago, his first in golf's oldest major championship at the 20th attempt.

Mickelson has suffered something of a reaction since then, failing to return to the winner's circle and recording just two top-10 finishes, but he says it is simply a matter of time before he gets his form back.

"I believe the next five years are going to be some of the best in my career," the 44-year-old told reporters on Monday.

"It obviously hasn't been a good year and normally I would be discouraged or frustrated but I'm not. I know I haven't played well, but the parts feel a lot better than the whole.

"I don't know when it will all click together, if it will be this week, in three weeks or in a month...but it should be soon."

Mickelson, who will play alongside 2002 and 2012 winner Ernie Els and U.S. Masters champion Bubba Watson in Thursday's opening round at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, said he felt his sharpness beginning to return last month.

"This has not been a good putting year... but I've had a good breakthrough these last couple of weeks since the U.S. Open," added the five-times major winner.   Continued...

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. catches a ball on the driving range during a practice round ahead of the British Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, northern England July 14, 2014.        REUTERS/Toby Melville