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Butch: Phil still has 3-4 more majors in him

on 03 March 2012.

     As Butch Harmon watched his student Phil Mickelson outduel his formermickelson mastersmickelson masters pupil Tiger Woods to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in early February, Harmon saw more than just Mickelson’s 40th PGA Tour victory.

     “I think he can win three or four more majors,” Harmon told Texas Links after flying into Houston on the eve of Mickelson’s Feb. 12 win for an annual dinner honoring his late brother Dick Harmon.

     That prediction would have been shocking to hear earlier this year after Mickelson struggled so mightily, missing a cut and finishing way back in the pack in two other events. But Mickelson requested some serious mentoring time on the range with Harmon at the Waste Management Phoenix Open the week before Pebble Beach.

     It paid off.

     With Mickelson, it’s always about shot dispersion. He tightened his swing, especially in the final round at Pebble, hitting 13 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens. That led to an 8-under-par 64 and a 17-under, 269 total and a two-stroke win. It snapped a winless streak of 16 PGA Tour starts; Lefty’s last win came at the 2011 Shell Houston Open.

     Mickelson, by the way, finished 11 shots better than Woods in Sunday’s final round at Pebble Beach.

     “I think the main thing with Phil is he played under control (at Pebble), and I attribute that to his quiet footwork,” Harmon said. “Plus, he putted so much better. He putted so badly the last 18 months. But he’s finding it again and he just hit some great putts at Pebble Beach. I think it’s just all about staying focused staying in control. Not swinging out of his shoes.

     “Look, when you hit it really far like Phil and some of those guys, you’re not going to expect to hit 50 or 60 percent of the fairways every single round,” Harmon added. “The key is how far off are your misses if they aren’t on the fairway? I really think Phil can keep playing like this, and that’s why I don’t see any reason he can’t win three or four more majors.” - Kenny Hand

Edited, Mark