By Paul Myers
Phil Mickelson is one of the most accomplished golfers of all-time, and yet again is an important member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team for the 2014 edition. Lefty has long been a fan favorite in part because of his quick smile, but also because of his exciting and sometimes reckless style of play. Mickelson is usually not shy to take on an aggressive shot, which has led to some incredible results as well as some memorable disasters. One thing that sets Mickelson apart from the rest is both his raw talent and the nerve to go for his shots no matter what the stakes may be.
Over the years, Mickelson has often been among the longest hitters on Tour. He uses a longer swing than most other professional golfers, but he also possesses the required hand-eye coordination to make it work more often than not. Most golf fans would agree that Mickelson is among the most naturally talented golfers in the world, which is another aspect that makes him so much fun to watch. Whereas some pro golfers come across like robots as they move around the course, Phil plays the game with a style that many consider entertaining.
Slightly Decreased Swing Speed
For the 2014 PGA Tour season, Mickelson has posted an average swing speed of 115.62 – placing him 56th on the list. While his name was regularly found in the top ten earlier in his career, Phil still has plenty of power to take on the biggest courses on the Tour. Five years ago his swing speed average topped 120 MPH, but time can take a few miles per hour away from even the most powerful golfer (which could actually be reversed or mitigated with swing speed training like at Swing Man Golf). Despite perhaps losing a little bit of his firepower in recent years, Mickelson remains near the top of the golf world and is always a threat in any tournament that he enters.
Mixed Bag at Ryder Cup
In terms of the Ryder Cup, it has been something of a mixed bag for Mickelson. While he has enjoyed success recently thanks to a pairing with Keegan Bradley, Phil’s mark as a Ryder Cup player isn’t quite as sparkling as you might expect for a player of his pedigree. Despite that, there is no doubt that any European players who see Mickelson lined up against them in Scotland for the 2014 Ryder Cup will know that they are surely in for a challenge. Any player with the experience and talent of Mickelson is a threat to win a match, regardless of past record.
As Phil moves forward into what may be the last few seasons of his PGA Tour career, it is possible that the swing speed number will continue to creep down a little bit at a time, especially if he doesn’t seek help about it from someone like Jaacob Bowden. However, thanks to an amazing short game and a natural feel for the golf course, it is to be expected that he may continue to contend for the biggest titles in golf even with a few fewer yards off the tee. As far as the Ryder Cup goes, very little is surprising when it comes to Mickelson, and that certainly applies in this case. Despite a spotty record in this event, no one would be surprised if he came through big when the U.S. team needs him most.
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