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Home : Golf NewsBack to News

Huge, record crowds inspired Mickelson

 

The attendance record at the hugely popular Phoenix Open was once more broken on Sunday, this time by a shattering 60,000 more attendees - and no one loved it more than US veteran Phil Mickelson, one of TPC Scottsdale's and the Tournament's favourite sons.

"It means a lot to me, Mickelson said of the 719,179 fans who flocked to the most popular golf show on earth, the 216,818 who did it on Saturday setting another record for a single round.

"It's very helpful and very important to my success," he added after finishing 5th ahead of highly ranked stars like World no 2 Jon Rahm (tied for 11th) and No 3 Jordan Spieth (missed the cut).

"I think it's been a big instrument in allowing me to get into the round and play and have fun and get out of the technical side, which is what I've been doing the first two weeks (of his season).

"My game feels like it's been this sharp the first couple of weeks, but I haven't gotten into the round, hit shots and had fun. I think the environment here has really helped me get out of that technical element."

The right-handed man they call "Lefty" because of his left-handed swing, nearly made the playoff in which Gary Woodland beat fellow American Chez Reavie at the first extra hole on the 18th with a regular par.

Mickelson arrived at the final hole in regulation needing to hole out with his second shot to make it but double-bogeyed the hole in trying. That apart he had a memorable week, especially at the rowdy 16th par-3 stadium hole which was most often entirely surrounded by as many as 20,000 spectators.

Third-round leader Rickie Fowler also thrived - until he faded with that upsetting 73 on Sunday and finished in a tie for 11th with Rahm and others.

He said of the event, "Having a big crowd out here is good for us, even though not all the people here seem to know there's a golf tournament going on. There are some people here that seem to be doing other things for fun. But, hey, they're in here, they're supporting the tournament.

"The amount of money that's raised by the Thunderbirds and chief sponsors Waste Management by this tournament with the large attendance and the selling the suite tickets ... they may not be watching golf at all times, but they are supporting the tournament, so it's pretty cool."

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Neville Leck

Written by neville@golfweather.com.