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Wednesday October 23, 2013 MYT 7:53:00 PM
Wednesday October 23, 2013 MYT 7:54:32 PM
by lim teik huat AND ashreena pillai
Phil Mickelson signing autographs at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club on Oct 23, 2013. He said: ' The rough is extremely thick and difficult around the greens, and I think it’s a hard test.'
KUALA LUMPUR: American superstar Phil Mickelson will be chasing his fourth title of the year when he makes his first appearance in the country at the US$7mil (RM22.4mil) CIMB Classic, which begins at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) on Thursday.
World No. 3 Mickelson is the highest-ranked played in the field this week and he’ll be up against a stellar cast, which includes fellow Major champions Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els, Stewart Cink and Retief Goosen in Asia’s first FedEx Cup tournament.
“I am optimistic that I’ll play well. The golf course is difficult though. The greens are not holding very well and that’ll make it difficult for guys to get the ball close to the hole. I don’t think the scores will be that low.
“I think this is a very difficult test. The rough is extremely thick and difficult around the greens, and I think it’s a hard test,” said the 43-year-old, who is also known as “Lefty”.
Having competed in the region previously, Mickelson, who won the British Open in July for his fifth career Major, said the Malaysian heat and humidity would not be a problem for him.
“I don’t mind the heat at all. I actually enjoy it. I feel that it’s much easier on your body when it’s warm like this. The muscles become looser and perform better, and I think that the golf ball performs better in warm conditions ... and I think that the heat is helpful to the golfers to play well,” he said.
Although he plans to scale down on his schedule in the near future, the popular American said the opportunity to add to his 46 career victories is what drives him on.
“I think having this tournament be a part of the FedEx Cup gives it a lot of credibility and world class golf here in Malaysia. I think it is a great statement and we’re all appreciative of CIMB bringing world class golf to Malaysia,” he said.
“I love what I do. I love competing. I’ve always been a competitive person by nature, and I love the opportunity to compete in golf at the highest level, which I have over the last 20 years of playing on the Tour.
“I have learned more and more each year, and this past year I’ve had some wonderful things happen to me that have helped me play some of my best golf.
“Whether it’s driving the ball off the tee, getting the ball in play so I can compete well in the US and British Opens, whether it’s putting and certain keys on putting, I’ve had a phenomenal putting year. I’m starting to drive the ball better than I ever have and I’m excited about coming years because I’m starting to play some really good golf again.”
Title holder Nick Watney, who defeated a top field that included Tiger Woods at the Mines Resort and Golf Club last year, is looking forward to a successful defence at a different venue.
“I’m definitely very excited to be back. I have a lot of good memories from last time. The course is in great shape. It’s very challenging. I’m looking forward to getting the week started,” said the 32-year-old.
“It’s very hilly out there but I think the main difference will be how narrow the fairways are. The Mines are pretty generous driving the ball, but here we hit into a lot of 15-yard gaps or maybe even less than that.”
Tags / Keywords:
golf, CIMB Classic, Phil Mickelson, Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, KLGCC
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