A lot can happen on the weekend, Phil Mickelson says, and he's hoping to be out there in the mix. (Getty Images)
Mickelson frustrated, yet eager to get back out and play some more
Phil Mickelson felt like he hasn't played well yet, but he birdied the final hole Friday and is sweating out the cut. Now he's hoping he can play himself back into contention on Saturday.
By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- No matter how much Phil Mickelson loves St. Andrews and the British Open, the course and the tournament don’t seem to love him back.
The defending Masters champion did manage to birdie the 18th hole and slip into the clubhouse just before the wind delay at 1 under for the week. He shot 73-71, which puts him right on the projected cut line of even-par 144 with more than half the field still on the course. And some still waiting to tee off.
"I felt I was playing well coming in,” Mickelson said. "I didn’t play well the first two days, but I felt I was playing well after some good practise sessions. And I didn’t play well the first two days, and I’ve gotten kind of an unfortunate draw, but if I could have played like Retief (Goosen) or -- 5, 6 under par, be right there, I think a lot can happen on the weekend. But for me now I’ve got to go out and shoot a low round tomorrow, and I don’t know if the conditions will be conducive to that, but hopefully they will be.”
Mickelson finished not long before play was suspended, but he said he didn’t see any balls move on the greens.
"With winds this strong, you know, your putts from three feet are greatly affected, not to mention trying to make 8-, 10‑ or 12‑footers from crosswinds,” Mickelson said. "It’s very difficult. The balls are blowing a little bit, and you can’t play the ball in the air. It’s got to be along the ground because once it gets in the air, it just keeps going off line. It’s very difficult. Every hole is tough par, I think, in these conditions.”
When asked if he thought play should have been called earlier, he said no. "It didn’t move on the green for us,” Mickelson said. "I’ve played in the past where it has. I played one round in ’03 in Sandwich (Royal St. George’s), it moved six times on me on the putting green as I was addressing it. Twice I had actually put the club behind it and was penalized both times. I have seen it where it’s been unplayable, and it very well may be now. It’s okay when we played, just hard.”
Mickelson played late Thursday, which was the tougher side of the draw. He may have just skated the same thing Friday.
"A good round in the morning (Thursday) was probably 6 under par, and when we teed off, a good round was probably 2 or 3 under par,” Mickelson said. "And I was still trying to think 6 under par, and I had to adjust to what a good round was under the conditions I was facing, and I just kept trying to kind of press the issue.”
So what does he expect for the weekend?
"Well, hopefully I’ll make the cut,” he said. "Right now I plan on -- right now I’m inside the cut line. But if the winds calm down and they get back out and play or they don’t play again until tomorrow, there’s a good chance it may not make it. There will be a lot more birdies out there.”