Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mickelson Enjoys Sweet Taste of Success Ahead of Muirfield Bid

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mickelson Enjoys Sweet Taste of Success Ahead of Muirfield Bid

Article excerpt

Byline: Kevin Garside

BEHIND every great golfer there is a caddie who loves Fruit Pastilles. Should Phil Mickelson repeat his Scottish Open success at Muirfield this week, we know how loyal looper Jim 'Bones' Mackay will be celebrating. "I bought a couple of dozen for him when I saw them at one of the little shops in town [Inverness]," said the world No 4. "I don't know how many he's gone through but he got all two dozen from me. I try not to eat too much candy. I've got to be really careful on my diet given some of the challenges I've had these last few years, so it's not really something I've done but he sure loves them."

" It is sweet little tales like this that help feed The Open frenzy building norththe border this week. What we don't know is what colour Bones likes best but how delicious a prospect is Mickelson in this kind of form? He led at the end of each day bar the last at the US Open a month ago and came close at The Open in 2011, edging to within a shot of Darren Clarke at one point on the final day.

Victory at Castle Stuart was only his second in Europe and his first on a links course. Muirfield is a far stiffer test off the tee but the wind is no different and it was blowing a hooley all day yesterday, just as Mickelson hoped it would. "This win is important for me under some of the fiercest links conditions we could come across," he said. "It validates all the work I have been doing to prepare myself for links golf -- hitting low shots and 64 degree wedges.

"My first victory here in Scotland is very special. It's been the biggest challenge of my career adjusting to links golf and now I have done it. I've only recently, probably the last eight or nine years, started to play links golf effectively.

The biggest challenge was actually putting on these greens." While Mickelson was sharpening his game in hand-to-hand combat with Branden Grace, whom he beat in a play-off, that other pillar of the American golfing establishment, Tiger Woods, was taking an early look at Muirfield after an overnight flight from Florida. …

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