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The Masters Golf 2011 - Phil Mickelson's Game Plan
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This is the week of The Masters Golf 2011. Top players from around the world have gathered in Augusta, Georgia to compete for the most coveted title in all of golf -- The Masters Golf 2011 Championship. Round 1 begins Thursday. Phil Mickelson's comes to The Masters with momentum from his win last week at the Shell Houston Open. Phil is the reigning Masters Champion. What is Mickelson's game plan for winning this year?

The winner gets a Masters Green Jacket, symbol of a Masters Champion. He gets a trophy, and he gets a huge check. That's not all -- he gets an automatic invitation to all future Masters Golf Tournaments. Plus, he is more likely to get sponsorships, endorsement invitations and much more. Perhaps more than anything else, he forever becomes part of the lore and history of The Masters Golf.

I watched Phil's live pre-game interview this afternoon. He seemed relaxed and confident -- sometimes serious, at times humorous -- as he spoke with reporters. He said Masters Week is "my favorite week of the year."

What did his Phil's interview reveal about Phil Mickelson's game plan for winning The Masters 2011?

Morale and mindset. Winning the Houson last week was "a big confidence booster," Mickelson said. "It was fun -- I played well." Phil is looking for this momentum to carry him forward to a win this week.

Augusta National Golf Course. The course has been lengthened in recent years, and a "rough cut" has been added at the edge of the fairways. According to Phil, "You don't have to be a big hitter to win here . . . If your short game is sharp, I think you have a chance." But in fact Phil is looking for long drives."Length is a factor here -- I (will) swing the absolute hardest . . ."

Phil is usually a master of the short game. "My short game is critical whether I drive the ball well or not to take advantage of the par 5s." Phil thinks Augusta's first cut at the edge of the fairway actually helps the players by keeping balls from rolling into the trees. It gives players an opportunity to recover from bad shots.

Clubs in Phil's golf bag. Phil expects the playing conditions to improve over the next few days, so he will not need a three iron and hybrid unless the weather really gets hot. He will include two drivers in this bag -- one is an inch longer than the other, for use when he wants to hit an especially long drive.

Favorite hole. "Number 13 sets up very well for me . . . the tee shot is very comfortable for me." This is the hole where Mickelson's shot last year off the pine straw behind the tree was absolutely perfect. "It is one of the most beautiful holes in golf when you look down and see the azaleas."

Physical condition. Phil thinks his psoriatic arthiritis is under control and not a factor. Because of the length of the course and the big golf swings required, he has been working out with a back specialist "to make sure my back can stand the sort of rotational speed required."

Risk-reward. Phil said it was very important "deciding when you want to take on the risk" (and go for a risky shot). He said "You have to play away from your weaknesses and into your strengths." On rounds 1 and 2 on Phil expects to pace himself and avoid major errors. "I don't want to knock myself out of the tournament" on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday he will know where he stands and will judge the risk-rewards of risky shots.

So, golf fans, welcome to The Masters Golf 2011 where you will find tips on how to watch The Masters plus a summary of The Masters TV Schedule.

Street Talk

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