T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
Best golf shots of 2013 -- No. 3
Whenever Phil Mickelson has a significantly lofted club in his hands, you get the feeling something special could happen.
Well, that's precisely what happened in a playoff with Branden Grace at Castle Stuart in the Scottish Open.
Short of the par-5 18th green in two shots, Mickelson was left with an extremely difficult, uphill pitch shot from a fairway beaten down like hard pan where he could only see the top of the flag.
After thinking through the shot, Mickelson stepped in. This wasn't going to be one of those signature Mickelson flop shots. Instead, Mickelson hammered his club into the ball, sending a medium-trajectory pitch toward the flag.
The ball hit the green, took a couple of bounces before biting hard and spinning back within inches of the hole to set up what would be a winning birdie.
Check out the shot here:
As phenomenal as the shot was, the confidence gained at the Scottish Open on a links-style course that week convinced Mickelson -- for probably the first time in his career -- that he could win the Open Championship.
And that's what he did one week later at Muirfield.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.