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Mickelson leaves Shriners satisfied but with more work to do

Updated October 6, 2019 - 2:16 pm

Phil Mickelson made his first appearance in Las Vegas’ PGA Tour event since 2005 this week. He said he was somewhat satisfied with his performance despite never challenging for the title.

His time at TPC Summerlin ended around 11 a.m. Sunday, some two hours before leader and 2011 Shriners champion Kevin Na teed off. At that point, Mickelson was 13 shots off the lead after a final round 4-under 67. He finished at 9-under 275.

“I had a really enjoyable week; I came out and had two good rounds out of four,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t obviously compete, but the road back to playing well is a process, and today or this week was a good start on that process.”

Mickelson said he identified a few parts of his game that need work, but he said he found areas of strength as well.

“I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of stock cut drivers in play; iron play was sharp. I flew a lot of wedges and short irons the right number. My short irons have not been sharp the last six, eight months. They were really good this week. They were much, much better.”

Mickelson now hopes to parlay his positive feelings from Las Vegas into a spot on the U.S. Presidents Cup team, which plays the International team Dec. 9-15 at Royal Melbourne in Australia. His friend and foe Tiger Woods will need to make Mickelson a captain’s pick.

“We’ve been in contact, especially over the last few years, but nothing that I care to share,” Mickelson said about his potential role as Presidents Cup player or assistant captain.

Looking past 2019, Mickelson, 49, said he has unfinished PGA Tour business to tend to prior to contemplating the PGA Tour Champions, which he will be eligible for on his 50th birthday in June.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” Mickelson said. “I want to get my game back to compete out here.”

Vegas golf fans will also have to wait to see if Mickelson will return to the Shriners in 2020. The tournament hasn’t announced an official date yet, a main factor in his decision-making process.

“I haven’t seen the schedule that late in the year, but I do enjoy the golf course and I do enjoy coming here,” Mickelson said. “I think the three weeks off after the playoffs gives me enough time to take a little bit of a break and come back and play. Certainly, the odds are much better than they have been in years past.”

Off the course, Phil’s Phireside chats at his @philmickelson Twitter feed are popular, and a new episode will hit this week. Whether it is a Vegas version is undetermined.

“I don’t know. I have a bunch of stuff in my phone,” Mickelson said. “I just don’t know what I’m going to put up yet.”

Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider.

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