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Mickelson mentally sharper, excited to play
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-08-07 14:46

AKRON, Ohio: Back on the PGA Tour after a six-week break while helping his wife, Amy, and mother, Mary, undergo breast cancer treatment, Phil Mickelson says he is in "a much better place" mentally and excited about golf.

The American world No 2, who has not competed since tying for second at the US Open at Bethpage Black in June, now plans to play in three of the next four events on the circuit.

"Things at home are going much better," Mickelson said on Wednesday on the eve of this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club. "We've had a great six weeks.

Mickelson mentally sharper, excited to play

"We're in a much better place now than we were and I'm excited about that. I'm excited about the chance to play a little golf, too."

Asked to compare his state of mind going into this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with his build-up to the US Open, he replied: "Right now I'm in a much better place.

"Both my mom and Amy have caught it early and we've been able to have some wonderful care. Not only have the doctors been incredible in their science but they've also been very compassionate towards us."

Mickelson said he had been able to practise over the last fortnight and was optimistic about his chances for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and next week's PGA Championship, the final major of the year.

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"I expect to play well," the three-times major winner said. "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 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."

Although left-hander Mickelson has committed to play at Firestone, next week's PGA Championship and the Aug 27-30 Barclays Classic, he was reluctant to plan further ahead.

"I hope that things will continue to go well and that I'll be able to play but I don't know that," said the American, a double winner on this year's PGA Tour.

"I don't want to commit to something too far down the road ... for at least a year."