Phil Mickelson was supposed to be at the Vatican with his wife and daughter on Thursday.
Instead, after cutting short his family holiday in Italy, he was at the Scottish Open attempting to play his way out of a bad run of form ahead of a shot at a fifth major golf title at next week’s British Open.
“I’ve only played three events in the last six to eight weeks. I haven’t been in a competitive frame of mind and that’s what I’m working on now,” he said.
Mickelson shot a 1-over 73 in his first round on the links course at Castle Stuart and was already 11 shots behind early leader Francesco Molinari of Italy.
Mickelson didn’t blame his slow start on arriving in Inverness for the tournament late Wednesday.
“I’ve been over in Europe for the last few days so I’m on the time schedule so I don’t think that had anything to do with it,” he said.
“I added this week because I need to play a little bit more and I’m hoping to get a good round tomorrow so that I can play the weekend.”
Mickelson missed the cut at the Greenbrier Classic last week. That came after a 65th-place finish at the US Open in San Francisco and a withdrawal after a first-round 79 at the Memorial Tournament in his only events in June.
The family understood his need for more competitive play before the year’s third major, at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s starting next Thursday. He finished runner-up to Darren Clarke at the 2011 British Open at Royal St. George’s.
“I’m not just throwing one or two shots away on the golf course, I’m throwing away four, five or six so I’ve got to try to get that resolved.”
Maybe some divine inspiration at the Vatican would have been a better cure for Lefty?
“I have never been a big fan of that,” he answered. “I just think everyone is looked on equally and you have to make your own destiny.”