Michelson Struggles Again, Misses Cut at the Farmers Insurance Open

Phil Mickelson won’t be around for the weekend of a PGA Tour event. He missed the cut again, joining Tiger Woods on the sideline Friday by failing to make the 36-hole cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. Mickelson shot even-par 72 on Torrey Pines’ North course to complete 36 holes at 2-over 146 to miss the projected cut by three strokes. He spoke following the round on Friday:

Q. The fans here are disappointed that they won’t see their hometown guy on the weekend. I know you’re disappointed about not playing the weekend as well. Even par round 72 on the North Course, it seems like you couldn’t get the steam going. How would you rate that round?
PHIL MICKELSON: It’s very frustrating for me right now. I felt really ready to start the year and these first few weeks have been very poor. I feel like I’m hitting the ball tee to green quite well, really well, but my putting is beyond pathetic and if I can’t get back to the levels of 2013, I’m not sure what I’m going to do, because this is very frustrating.

Q. Is it a technical thing, a mental thing that you’re dealing with on the greens right now or a combination of both?
PHIL MICKELSON: I’m not sure. My grip pressure is light, I feel the stroke is okay, it’s just I’m having a hard time getting the ball in the hole.

Q. You’re going to be away for the next couple of weeks, we’re going to he see you at the Honda Classic. Will you work a lot on your game or are you going to decompress with your family and get ready that way?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well I need some work, so I’ll have to find time to get, see if I can get this fixed. But right now I feel like it’s really isolated just to on the greens. I feel like the other areas are okay, but my putting is — you can’t compete when you putt like that.

Q. Do you have answers or are you — at all?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, if I had answers I would be out there putting better, I would think.

Q. You said you felt good coming in. How disappointing is it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I tell you, I thought tee to green I played really well. About as well as I have in a long time. But you can’t compete out here putting the way I did. It was one of the worst putting performances and the first few weeks really have been the same way and you simply can’t compete at this level putting like that.

Q. Were you going back and forth with the putter grip?
PHIL MICKELSON: Just the last couple holes I did that, after I struggled for so many. But I don’t think that the claw’s the long-term solution, although I think it’s a good way to putt, but it’s not ultimately where I want to be. But I’m not sure what I’m going to do. It’s very frustrating to putt like that and feel like I’m — to hit the ball the way I did and then to putt like that, it’s frustrating.

Q. For a guy who is known over the years to be a very, very good putter, what, is it the fact that you get up there and think to yourself, I can’t do it anymore or I’m miss-hitting it, what goes wrong?
PHIL MICKELSON: I look up and the ball’s not going in the hole. I don’t know how else to say it. That’s got to change. So, I know I spent a lot of time in the off season with ball striking, with driving, with a lot of the areas that I’m doing well right now, primarily because I thought my putting was fine, I had putted phenomenal the last, all of 2013 and even the last few months of 2014. I felt that that wasn’t going to be an issue. But it is.

Q. Do you think it’s more — there was a stretch where you weren’t putting well last year, what happened there?
PHIL MICKELSON: Just going back to the way I always putted with kind of a closed face and extend to the target, just basic stuff that — I don’t know. It just seemed, it’s just not, putting’s never really been a problem for me. It’s, although I’ve had hot and cold stretches, it’s never been something I worried about. But last week and this week, that’s, it’s been not good.

Q. Do you think it’s more physical and mechanical or mental?
PHIL MICKELSON: It’s probably a little bit of both. It’s probably a little bit of fundamentals are off and then it creeps into confidence and it starts not you start not seeing ball go in, you start seeing it miss and so it will probably take a little bit of both to get it back on track.

I don’t know, but honestly I haven’t played well since the course has been redesigned. I’ve not won it, I’ve been very rarely in contention, it’s been a struggle for me since 2002 when it was redone. But I love playing this tournament, I love the golf course, in the sense that I grew up here and every time I come out here, it brings back great memories of me of walking outside the ropes with my dad and playing high school matches and all the memories that have been formed for me over the years of playing here. But since it’s been redone, I played it terribly and it’s been a challenge for me to get in contention here.

Q. How would you assess your mental attitude?

PHIL MICKELSON: A little bit — I’m down. I’m frustrated, I’m down, because I see other parts of my game do very well, but putting as bad as I have, it starts to creep in to some of the other areas too.

Q. Do you anticipate it being a quick fix?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, I don’t think it will be a quick fix, just because you putt bad for a few weeks, it’s going to take a little bit of good rounds, it will take some not only fundamental change, but it will take some good low rounds and some hot putting streaks to get confidence back, too.

Q. That being said, I think you said you’re going to be on vacation with your kids for a couple weeks and you’re going into Honda, what would your expectations be then?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don’t know.