| LYTHAM ST ANNES, England, July 20
LYTHAM ST ANNES, England, July 20 There was no
breaking Phil Mickelson's spirit but he was at a loss for words
after slumping to a woeful eight-over-par 78 to miss the British
Open cut on Friday.
The friendly American, smiling while scratching his head in
bemusement as he struggled to explain his poor showing, even had
a pen handy to sign a host of autographs in the drizzling rain.
"I don't know what to say right now," the four-times major
winner told reporters behind the Lytham practice green while
Tiger Woods played the first hole.
"I've got a way to go. The last two months have been pretty
poor play so I'm a little frustrated. The scores are really far
off. I don't know what to say."
Prior to his 11-over-par effort at Lytham, Mickelson had
shown signs of the form that fired him to victory at Pebble
Beach in February, where he outplayed 14-times major winner
Woods, followed by three top-10s in his next five starts.
Mickelson broke his snap of eight consecutive over-par
rounds en-route to finishing tied-16th at the Scottish Open last
week, prompting talk he could go one better than his second
place at last year's Open.
It was not to be, however, for the 42-year-old who has only
one other top-10 finish in 19 Opens and has now missed four cuts
at the oldest major.
For the former world number two it will be back to the
drawing board and more work with coach Butch Harmon, who said
after Mickelson's opening 73 he had spotted a flaw in the
"I'll have a week to get sharp before Akron and the PGA,"
Mickelson said in reference to next month's WGC-Bridgestone
Invitational and the year's final major at Kiawah Island from
Any serious talk seemed to wear Mickelson down and the Ryder
Cup player preferred to joke with reporters after a bad day at
"I tried to look in every bunker, I really tried," he said
to laughter after another typically errant performance off the
Mickelson even laughed off poorly-positioned photographers
clambering for position on the seventh hole.
"It wasn't going to hurt me. It might have hurt my score a
little bit," he said, bringing more laughs from the assembled
reporters before pulling out his pen for a marathon
(Editing by Ed Osmond)