Las Vegas, Nevada (January 30, 2011)–Phil Mickelson had a tough year, battling his own disease while also watching as his mom and wife dealt with breast cancer. It seems like much more than a year ago when Mickelson won The Masters. But over the final 13 tournaments in 2010, Mickelson finished in the top 10 just four times. It was safe to say golf wasn't at the top of his priority list, but 2011 is looking bright, and Mickelson was challenging for the win at the Farmers Insurance open in his native hometown of San Diego. And Las Vegas Golf Region resident Butch Harmon was, again, part of the reason for his success. —By Brian Hurlburt.
"I started practicing a week earlier this year than I had planned to," Mickelson told the media in San Diego. He had finished 37th at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship the week prior to the Farmers Insurance Open. "I started practicing the 28th of December. I was excited to get back out and play. I had been really missing the game there for a while. I had a good six weeks off where I was able to spend some time with our family. We did a few family trips, had a great off-season. But I've been antsy to get back and play. I didn't finish the year last year the way I wanted to, and I wanted to try to make 2011 the year that I thought 2010 was going to be. So I started getting to work a little bit earlier. I had spent some time with Butch. I was fortunate to have him there last week and build a foundation last week that will hopefully carry through the rest of the year as far as golf swing, fundamentals, making sure I'm on the right path heading into the season." Add your email in the boxes to the right for more stories about Butch Harmon and his school of golf.
Harmon operates the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Las Vegas' Rio Secco Golf Club, a resport Las Vegas golf course designed by Rees Jones. Harmon works with some of the game's best golfers including Dustin Johnson, Mickelson and Natalie Gulbis, among others. But contrary to public opinion, the Harmon School is also open to all golfers who can sign up for official schools with Harmon and/or his high level staff of teaching professionals. Click now to view the official website of the Butch Harmon School of Golf or the official website of Rio Secco Golf Club for official tee times in Las Vegas. Harmon pros are also offering a special Super Bowl golf school. Harmon made the trip with Mickelson to the United Emirates for the HSBC event.
"I think that last week gave me a good foundation where I was able to work on my game in good weather with good practice facilities with Butch Harmon," said Mickelson, who was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis . "And work throughout the week that allowed me to get my fundamentals down and the golf swing right where I wanted it. So heading into this week, I was talking yesterday about how I felt it was refinement rather than swing changes or anything. I felt like today I was hitting shots, hitting little fades, hitting draws and that was fun. I added Abu Dhabi. It worked out to be a wonderful trip. Brought the whole family there. We had a great week. I was able to bring Butch Harmon there and use it also as a week of work and getting my game sharp." Mickelson said that his health is good and because the ailment was detected very early, the symptoms have been managed well and no permanent damage was done.