July 12, 2015 / 6:59 PM / 2 years ago

Mickelson visits scene of Open glory to seek inspiration

USA's Phil Mickelson during the third round. Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith Livepic

GULLANE, Scotland (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson made a quick romantic trip to Muirfield this weekend, the scene of his 2013 British Open triumph, as he looked for inspiration for this year’s showpiece at St. Andrews starting on Thursday.

The American has been competing in the Scottish Open at Gullane Golf Club but found time after Saturday’s third round to travel the short distance to Muirfield and spend 90 minutes at the club.

“I enjoyed my time here at Gullane, and given how close it was to Muirfield, it was great to go over and spend time reminiscing,” Mickelson told reporters.

He was accompanied by wife Amy, long-time caddy Jim Mackay and manager Steve Loy.

“I didn’t take a club. Just a bottle of wine though we could have done with another bottle. There were the three people who are the most important people in my life, apart from my kids,” he said.

”We spent an hour and a half on a golf course where there wasn’t a soul there and remembering what took place there. It was probably the most special victory of my career and to be able to relive it with those three people was really special.

“The members could not have been more gracious as no one annoyed us and they left us alone, so we had a wonderful night and it even rained, which was even better.”

Mickelson now intends to draw on his Muirfield visit as he strives to join the 13 players in the history of the game who have captured six or more majors.

He headed straight to St. Andrews on Sunday after his final Scottish Open round of 68 for a five-under-par tally left him trailing just outside the top 30.

“Over the next three days what I will focus on is more on fine tuning rather than finding something,” the 45-year-old said.

“I’m pretty pleased with my ball-striking...and the way the last two days were on the greens.”

An unusually green Old Course awaits at the Home of Golf and Mickelson will be happy if it stays that way come tee-off on Thursday.

“I’ve seen St. Andrews when it was brown and fast and if it’s green and soft, that’s fine too,” he said.

“When it gets brown and the weather’s nice, the pin placements get too iffy. So I would prefer the weather to be bad and the pin placements fair.”

Editing by Mark Meadows; mark.meadows@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 7933; Reuters Messaging:; mark.meadows.reuters.com@reuters.net

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