The PGA Championship 2010 buildup is all about Tiger Woods. Yet the PGA Championship 2010 has Phil Mickelson just behind, as the PGA Championship is just his latest chance to be the best. Last weekend, it looked like Mickelson was finally ready to overtake Woods at No. 1, given Woods’ collapse and Mickelson’s high place in the early leaderboard. But, in crunch time, the world’s No. 2 fell apart, as he is still prone to do. Yet, now that Mickelson is the PGA Championship 2010 favorite, he has another chance to make the big leap – if he is healthy enough.
While the golf world was still dissecting Woods’ misery at the Bridgestone Invitational, Mickelson more quietly disclosed his health problems. Over the last few months, the three-time Masters champion has battled psoriatic arthritis, which has often made it difficult for him to move.
Heading into the PGA Championship 2010, Mickelson has not been at his best in the last few months, when he could have overtaken Woods sooner. Now his struggles are more understandable, although he assured he is nearly at 100 percent.
Despite this news, the PGA Championship odds still favor Mickelson, especially with Woods’ recent troubles. Ernie Els and Rory McIlory are just behind him as the most popular picks, but favorites don’t usually win majors nowadays. Mickelson was the lone exception this year, when he won his third Masters and seemed to be at his peak.
After that, it seemed more and more likely that Mickelson could get to No. 1, even after falling short at the U.S. Open. Yet, after that tournament, his arthritis flared up, and he went on to get the diagnosis confirmed after the British Open. Since then, he has taken injections of Enbrel once a week, in order to still get around on the golf course.
Mickelson seemed to be healthy enough in the first two days of the Bridgestone Invitational, but he fell apart just like Woods on the weekend. But such an up-and-down tournament has been nothing new to him over the years, and the PGA Championship 2010 could also go the same way.
The PGA is the only other major he has won, as he triumphed in 2005 at New Jersey. It was his first major win after his 2004 Masters breakthrough, and he went on to win the 2006 Masters afterward. Yet he has never won two majors in a calendar year.
If he wins the PGA Championship 2010, Mickelson will be recognized as the world’s best, even if he still hasn’t overtaken Woods. The road is wide open for him, although he has missed a few chances to drive through it already. Doing so this week, especially after revealing his health scare, would be a memorable antidote to the string of bad news around Woods.
Boston Globe- “Mickelson treated for arthritis”
FanHouse- “Phil Mickelson Remains America’s Sympathetic Hero”