Lefty’s back mentally stronger

Phil Mickelson says he is returning to competitive golf at Firestone CC on Thursday with new-found mental strength.

Phil Mickelson returns to competitive golf on Thursday feeling mentally much stronger than he did when he left the game to be with both his wife and mother as they began treatment for breast cancer.
Mickelson tees off at Firestone Country Club in Ohio in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational having not played since the US Open in mid-June.
Having been diagnosed early in May, wife Amy Mickelson began treatment on July 1 and with that going as well as could be expected, he said, the world number two was looking forward to playing again.
“I think mentally right now I’m in a much better place because we’re just in a better place than where we were in the (US) Open, waiting to get started,” he said.
“I just feel very fortunate to be where we’re at today, and we still have a lot to go through, but we’re just in a much better place.
“Things at home are going much better. We’ve had a great six weeks. We’re in a much better place now than we were. I’m excited about that. I’m excited about the chance to play a little golf, too.”
Mickelson, who won the most recent WGC event at the CA Championship at Doral in Miami in March, said he was expecting to play well in Akron and heading into next week’s US PGA Championship at Hazeltine National.
“What do I expect? I expect to play well. I mean, I expect to play like I always have.
“I think that mental rehearsal is every bit as important as physical rehearsal. When I had my nurse gown on, I would mentally rehearse shots and stuff to just think about when, just kind of keep myself sharp, even though I wasn’t touching a club.
“So I think when I came back and was finally able to swing a club, I was able to play fairly decently.
“For the first three or four weeks, I didn’t really play, but the last couple of weeks as things have gotten better, I’ve been able to practice a little bit, and so I won’t know exactly until I play, but I’m optimistic.”
Mickelson did admit that only playing in tournament conditions would determine how ready he was for a successful return.
“I have taken more time off in the past in the off-season, but not ever during the summer,” he said.
“I don’t know, I still have question marks as to how I’ll play and whatnot.
“But that’s not really the most important thing. The most important thing is that Amy and my mom are doing well, I’m excited about that, and it lets me practice a little bit with a better frame of mind.”
Mickelson also confirmed he was a member of a group also including his agent that was bidding US dollars 20.2 million to acquire a chain of 105 Waffle House restaurants from a company now filing for bankruptcy.
“I don’t really want to go into it. I hope that goes through,” Mickelson said.
“I was intending to be quiet on that but I guess with the bankruptcy courts my name stuck out.”