Phoenix Open 2013: Phil Mickelson Victory Would Set Tone for Year

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 2, 2013

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 2: Phil Mickelson hits his second shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 2, 2013 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

After three rounds at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Phil Mickelson is playing out of his mind, and a solid Sunday will secure his victory and set the tone for the rest of his year.

Mickelson started this tournament off incredibly hot after shooting an 11-under 60 and has tied the tournament's 54-hole mark record (-24) after another brilliant performance on Saturday (-7).

As it stands now, Mickelson is running away with this tournament as he finds himself six strokes ahead of the nearest competitor, Brandt Snedeker.

Lefty didn't have such a great start to this season, as he failed to finish in the top 10 in each of the first two tournaments he participated in during the month of January. He tied for 37th in the Humana Challenge and tied for 51st at the Farmers Insurance Open.

It looked like it would be a bad sign of things to come for Mickelson, but it appears he's shaken off the rust since then.

Now, Mickelson has been able to play mistake-free golf in Phoenix with only a double bogey to show for it.

On top of that, Mickelson has been hitting his greens to the tune of 88.9 percent accuracy. Granted, Mickelson's driving accuracy (59.5 percent) could use some improvement, but his approach shots and putting have more than made up for that.

He still has to finish what he started in Phoenix, but Mickelson's victory in this tournament has proven to be a jumping-off point to a fantastic year in the past.

Back in 2005, when Mickelson last won this tournament, he would go on to win four tournaments in total, with one second-place finish thrown in. One of those wins happened to be at the PGA Championship in August of that year, which was his second career major victory.

That was no doubt a successful year for Mickelson, and it all started with his victory at this tournament. His numbers at this year's event are the best he's ever posted, barring a major collapse on Sunday.

If he can carry his putting and approach success from Phoenix and combine it with better driving numbers, Mickelson could be unstoppable moving forward—not to mention the amount of momentum and confidence Mickelson will gain from a wire-to-wire win in the tournament.

This year could be as good as 2005 and perhaps better as Mickelson continues to stand in a league of his own.