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Lefty Can See Wide-Open Masters

Masters Update

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Phil Mickelson's words were dressed in disappointment today as he talked of the recent rains that have softened Augusta National. His worry is that if the Masters it played under similar conditions familiarity become less meaningful and the every young player in the field can contend

"When the subtleties don't come out, the experience of playing here in the past is not as important because you don't have to fear the greens and you don't have to know where the ball will end up and you don't have to fear certain shots because you can get up-and-down from the edges," Mickelson said. "Those shots are not as hard.

"Therefore, I think there's a very good chance that a young player, inexperienced, fearless player that attacks this golf course can win if you don't need to show it the proper respect."

Mickelson also spoke of how his breakthrough at the Masters came when he adjusted his approach to the par-5 15th hole. He won the first of his three green jackets in 2004.

"I think when you get hit in the head enough times, you look back and say, 'You know, maybe I should take a step back.' That's kind of what happened to me after just getting hammered by that hole so many times over the '90s. . . . I just accepted the fact that it's a hard hole, and if I make 4, great, but 5 is not bad."

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Lefty on what it would mean to win a fourth Masters and tie Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods on the career list:

"A lot."

Asked to expand on that, Mickelson flashed that devilish grin and responded:

"It would mean an awful lot."

-- Bob DiCesare

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