Masters 2017: Phil Mickelson ready to replace Jack Nicklaus in Augusta history

 
Frank Dalleres
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The Masters - Preview Day 2
Mickelson won the last of his three Green Jackets in 2010 (Source: Getty)

Three-time champion Phil Mickelson insists that his advancing years will prove an asset rather than a hindrance when he begins his latest Masters challenge on Thursday.

Mickelson, 46, stands to eclipse Jack Nicklaus and become the oldest winner in the tournament’s history if he can prevail on his 25th appearance at Augusta National.

The American is winless since the 2013 Open Championship but nearly added a sixth Major at the same event last year, when he was edged out by a performance for the ages by Henrik Stenson.

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Mickelson boasts a fine record at the Masters – most of his visits have ended in top-10 finishes – and believes his familiarity with the course will prove even more valuable if, as expected, bad weather strikes.

“What I like most about this week is that Thursday, Friday, the weather is going to come in. That’s going to magnify the misses for a lot of players, which means you need to miss it in the correct spots,” he said.

“Even though you might miss it big, if you’re in the right spot you can take advantage of your short game and salvage a lot of pars.

“I hope to rely on that knowledge and skill to keep myself in it heading into the weekend, where players less experienced with the golf course will possibly miss it in the wrong spots and shoot themselves out.”

Mickelson, who is due to play his first round alongside Rafa Cabrera Bello and Si-Woo Kim, added that he “doesn’t think much about age right now” but drew confidence from his displays last year.

“I think the last year and a half I’ve worked really hard to get my game back to the level that I expect and the level that I’ve strived for,” said the 2004, 2006 and 2010 Green Jacket recipient.

“If I can play anywhere close to the way I played at the British Open last year and the Ryder Cup, I should be able to give myself a good opportunity for Sunday.”

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