Pros advice

Mickelson hits the reset button in preparation for a solid 2015

When Phil Mickelson takes to the greens later this week at the Humana Challenge in his first competitive event of the year, the Callaway man will be hitting the reset button as he tries to improve upon what was a disappointing 2014.

As a 42-time Tour winner, Mickelson simply does not have the benefit of letting his play slide, as evidenced by the criticism he received from many quarters last year. But the World No.16 has been spending the off-season productively, collaborating with trainer Sean Cochran in a four-day-a-week program which seems to be paying dividends already.

“In the first five or six weeks I’ve had some immediate results,” said Mickelson. “I’m developing more core strength and speed and increasing my ball speed. It’s been awhile since I felt so at ease.”

Of course people can point the finger at Mickelson and demand more from the American, but at the end of the day it’s the man himself who is his biggest critic.

Mickelson is looking to make 2015 a bounce-back season after admitting his form and style simply weren’t up to scratch throughout 2014, despite some good golfing in between.

Unfortunately for Lefty, the facts of last year are quite damning. Not only did he fail to win a tournament for the first time since 2003, but he also produced just one top-10 finish in 21 starts, failing to advance to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in the final event of the FedExCup Playoffs.

And Mickelson put his own thoughts on last season, stating bluntly: “The worst year of my career.”

He added: “It was a bad year statistically in all areas. I didn’t drive the ball as well as I can or expected to. My short irons were worse than they’ve been in my entire career. My short game wasn’t really sharp. My putting was not at the level I expect.”

Mickelson will start his new season at the Humana and will also contest the Waste Management Phoenix Open followed by the Farmers Insurance Open. After that he will return home for the final two weeks of the West Coast Swing, meaning he misses the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the first time in 20 years. He also will not play the Northern Trust Open for the second straight year after making seven consecutive starts at Riviera.

“Those are two of my favourite events, two of my favourite’s courses, but with the kids in two schools with different spring breaks I’ll take that time off,” Mickelson said.

“They’ve accommodated my schedule enough over the years. It’s time for me to accommodate theirs.”

Phil Mickelson uses the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Driver and Callaway Speed Regime 3 Golf Balls, both of which are available now from OnlineGolf.