Confident Lefty sets lofty goal for himself

TIME McKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:06 AM ET

There are certain benchmarks on the PGA Tour that are well publicized:

* The grand slam

* 18 majors (Jack Nicklaus)

* 82 career victories (Sam Snead)

* 6 career Masters championships (Nicklaus)

Normally, those are associated with one man, Tiger Woods, and his pursuit of the legends of the game.

But the other great golfer of our era, Phil Mickelson, this week let it be known that he has rather lofty goals of his own: Namely 50 wins by the time he's 50.

And, with Phil playing with a clear mind now that wife Amy is in recovery from cancer, it's entirely possibly that Lefty can get there, provided he stays healthy.

During his media teleconference as defending Masters champion, Mickelson said he doesn't like to talk about his goals much because he feels it sometimes comes off as arrogant and it can set a player up for letdown and scrutiny.

"I think if I could reach or surpass the total number of victories of 50 is something that I feel is very attainable and that I should be able to accomplish; especially given the way that I feel I'm playing, as well as my health has been, that I should have a number of years to try to achieve that goal, and I should be I really feel confident that I'll be able to accomplish it."

That gives Mickelson, who at age 40 has 38 career victories, a decade to become just the eighth man to hit the 50-win plateau.

And, no, he didn't come off as cocky, paying homage to those ahead of him at the same time as stating his con- fidence in his ability to reach 50 wins.

"Although it's not with the greats of a Nicklaus or a (Arnold) Palmer, Tiger, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson, it's certainly up there and certainly something I would be very proud to do, especially in this day and age."

A victory at Augusta this April would also put Mickelson in some elite company, joining Woods and Palmer with four victories, two shy of leader Nicklaus, and leaving behind Snead, Gary Player and Nick Faldo at three wins.

WEIR WATCH

Mike Weir didn't make the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am and he didn't make any money towards the $217,097 he must earn to retain full status on the PGA Tour, but he remains confident.

Weir, in his first blog update since late last year, addressed several issues saying that his elbow feels good, he's a bit rusty and that it's not the end of the world if he doesn't meet the target under his medical exemption.

That's nothing new, but the fact he hasn't changed his tune after a few events speaks to Weir's quiet confidence.

Weir, whose first round of the Pebble Beach Pro Am, on the Spyglass Hill course, featured seven birdies, said he didn't get the finish he wanted but that he saw signs he's coming around.

"I feel as if I still have some tournament rust clinging to me," Weir said. "The three events I've played so far are really the first ones I've played healthy in about seven months ... so I'm finding that I'm making some mental mistakes each round and also the scoring aspects of my game just aren't there."

Heading into this week's Northern Trust Open, where he is the lone Canadian in the field, Weir can reflect on positive moments at Riviera, where he won in 2003 and 2004.

"Of course winning there brings back good memories, which I can feed off of, and I really like the course," Weir said. "It's a classic and I have always enjoyed playing it."

And what of that $217,097 he has to make up in his next two events?

"As far as my five-tournament medical exemption goes, I'm not really worried about that. Of course I'm hoping to take care of things either this week or in my next event, but if it doesn't happen I'll deal with it then. Either way, I know I will still play this year beyond those five events, so I'm not really worried about that."

tim.mckay@sunmedia.ca Twitter@TimMcKayGolf


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