Pros advice

Mickelson feeling positive about Pebble Beach

A poor showing in Phoenix which followed him pulling out of the Farmers Insurance Open has left many to question Phil Mickelson’s early season credentials. However, the man himself feels good about his prospects heading into the game at Pebble Beach.

Mickelson cited back pain for his withdrawal after the second round at Torrey Pines, although he returned to action a week later in an attempt to defend his title at the Phoenix Open, managing a below-par 42nd place.

Lefty now believes he is close to getting back to his best – and recapturing the same form which saw him battle to victory at Pebble Beach in 2012 – where he shot a wonderful eight-under 64 final round finish.

"My game is not far off, even though the score says that it is," said Mickelson."It was just a fraction off. My irons were what I struggled with but I drove the ball well, short game wasn't bad, putting wasn't bad. I have to go back to work on my iron play.

"The back feels great and I'm looking forward to Monterey (this week)."

Mickelson has spoken of his delight in coming back to Pebble Beach – an event which he believes could propel him back into contention for honours this year. The event will feature three venues: the Pebble Beach Golf Links and its sister venues Monterey Peninsula shore and Spuglass Hill. A total of $6.6 million will be on offer to the winner.

Mickelson plans to skip the next couple of tournaments in the lead up to Pebble Beach so he can enjoy some time with his family. "I have two weeks off,” he explained. “The kids are out of school and they're both at different schools, so that's two different spring breaks the week of LA and Match Play."

It’s shaping up to be a tough field at Pebble Beach, with the lineup including the likes of bookies favourite Jason Day, as well as 2009 and 2010 winner Dustin Johnson. Defending champion Brandt Snedeker will also be in the contest.

Did you know?

Phil Mickelson is a 42-time winner on the PGA Tour and will be looking for victory number 43 when he takes his place on the field for Pebble Beach.