Phil Mickelson routinely speaks frankly with the press about his game, his approach and his state of mind.
But in an interesting, revealing and wide-ranging interview with PBS' Charlie Rose, Mickelson's comments about short putts were very blunt, especially to someone who has studied the teaching of golf psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella.
Mickelson, while discussing the recent British Open, in which he finished in a tie for second, thanks to a red-hot front nine, but an monumentally frustrating back non, told Rose it was his head that got in the way.
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"I missed just under a 3-foot putt on 11, that I think ultimately cost me the tournament because it derailed me, got me out of the mental focus that I had. I just let my mind slip, I started thinking ahead, as opposed to just focusing on the putt.
I started thinking about the 12th hole —I'm on 11 — the next shot, about how I could birdie the next hole. Other things than making that putt were going through my mind. That's something I have to work on. Work on my focus.
Missing a 3-foot putt is not a technical thing, it's more of a mental focus."
Mickelson, on the show to talk in part about his efforts to promote math and science in the classroom, also dodged questions about Tiger Woods but heaping praise on the former No. 1 player in the world.
"Nobody in the game that has received more or benefited more from Tiger than myself. He drove the purses up. Second, he drove up the TV ratings. He also increased the marketing expectations. … Nobody's been able to capitalize on that better than I have. I'm always and will always be appreciative for what he's done for me, my family and for the game of golf."The full interview is fascinating and worth watching. Video available here.