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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Nothing was more unexpected in 2020-21 than Mickelson winning a PGA Championship. It came after a whole lot of nothing to start the PGA Tour season. Unfortunately, Mickelson is just too risky to take a shot in salary cap formats considering he had just one other top-20 in 2020-21. He was also outside the top 160 in scoring average. It's also unclear how much the 51-year-old will focus on the PGA TOUR Champions in 2021-22.
Mickelson still has game, but he has no staying power. He flashed his upside a few times this past season, but he was rarely able to hold on even when off to a good start. Now eligible for the Champions Tour, Mickelson is likely to split time between the two tours when convenient, although he'll likely try to hold onto the PGA Tour for as long as possible. With that said, his upside is all but gone, making him a poor choice in salary cap formats this season.
At 49, it's time to wonder how much time Mickelson has left on the PGA Tour. Actually, the same question has applied the past few years concerning Mickelson and each season has been unlike the previous. Mickelson has been a bit of a roller coaster the past five seasons, rotating decent seasons and really good seasons. He's coming off another decent season, which means he's due for a really good season, right? Actually, the risk might be too high this time around as you can't expect a guy who turns 50 this season to post an earnings number north of $4 million.
Mickelson is coming off a surprisingly productive season. One in which he picked up a win at a WGC event and again played his way onto the Ryder Cup team at the age of 48. Mickelson's earnings of just over $4.5 million was the highest number he had posted since 2013, which was also the last time he had won on the PGA Tour. It was a great season all the way around, but unfortunately, it was one that he won't be able to replicate. Mickelson struggled towards the end of last season and that's a sign of things to come as he gets closer to 50. He'll still have some moments and he's not losing his card anytime soon, but his top-30 days are probably behind him. As such, he's not an option in salary cap leagues this season.
Mickelson isn't getting any younger and it appears as though his age is starting to show. He did have his moments during the 2016-17 season, but we'd expect no less from one of the all-time greats. That said, his moments are becoming more rare each season, which makes it nearly impossible to improve on his numbers from year to year. Mickelson could very well win a big event this season, but a dramatic uptick in production overall is still unlikely.
At the age of 45 and coming off his two worst seasons in over a decade, it was fare to wonder prior to last season, if this was the inevitable decline of the former superstar. A year later and it's clear that Mickelson still has plenty of juice left. Though he hasn't won since 2013, he came close three times this past year and finished inside the top-25 in 12 of 15 starts where he made the cut. To play devil's advocate, this was a Ryder Cup year and Phil loves the Ryder Cup, so it's possible that he simply regained his focus to be on the team, but it seems like Mickelson has larger goals still -- like winning another major. Though he's got plenty of juice left, his price for the upcoming season is just too high. In draft leagues, he'll find his way back into the 2rd-round.
Not a good year for Mickelson in 2014. After an impressive run at a couple majors in 2013, it appeared as though Mickelson would make some hay during the majors in 2014, but that wasn't the case. He struggled outside the majors as well, all of which led to a very poor year, at least by Phil's standards. The good news of course is that his price is so low entering this season that he's almost a "must-have" in salary cap leagues. In draft leagues he'll probably go higher than he should because of his name, but he shouldn't be taken higher than early in round two.
Mickelson is not slowing down one bit. A lot of guys start to tail-off in their 40s, but Mickelson seems to be getting better. Getting better when it counts the most anyway. Mickelson came oh so close to capturing two majors last year, but had to settle for just one. He seems more focused than ever on the U.S. Open, which can be a good thing, but too much focus on one event can be detrimental, especially if you don't win it. Mickelson will continue to do what he's done over the past decade again this year. He'll win a couple events, compete at one or two majors and earn somewhere around $5 million. Mickelson is a top-5 pick in a draft format, but his upside probably isn't high enough to take him in a salary cap format.
After a couple "off" years in which he failed to earn $4 million, Mickelson pieced together a nice 2012 season and once again topped the $4 million mark. The only problem with his 2012 season was the way he finished. His lone win came early in the season at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February, and although his play didn't fade right away, it took a bit of a nose-dive after May. It wasn't until the beginning of September that Mickelson finally cracked the top 10 again. His play at the majors was even more concerning. His best major finish came at the PGA Championship where he tied for 36th. Mickelson's best days are probably behind him, but he's still capable of some mini-runs, including majors. In his prime, Mickelson could crush his 2012 number, but in his current state, it will be difficult to significantly top last season's earnings. As such, it would be wise to pass on him in salary cap leagues. As for draft leagues, he's still a first-round selection.
With Tiger Woods on the ropes entering 2010, Mickelson was the favorite to finally claim the throne as the best player in the world. Of course, the same thing was said entering the 2009 season, as well. It appears that Mickelson is just not going to take that final step in his career. There's a chance he could still get there (after all, the last two years have been quite difficult off the course), but it seems more likely that Mick will continue on his normal course, which is to win one or twice and contend at a couple majors. Mickelson is one of the few high-priced players who could pay off, but it's probably wise to steer clear of him in salary cap leagues this year. As for draft leagues, he should still go in the first round somewhere.
It's rare when a $4 million season can be considered a letdown, but that's exactly what it was for Mickelson last year. Sure, he won a major and came close to another, but without Tiger Woods in the picture for most of the season's first four months, many expected Mickelson to take over as the unquestioned No. 1 player in the world. After a rough start to his season, though, it was obvious that Mickelson was not ready to ascend to the throne. Mickelson's issues off and on the course - both his wife and mother battling cancer and his own battle with arthritis for most of the season - undoubtedly impacted his game in 2010. With both of those situations looking better now, however, Mickelson should get back to the top of the PGA TOUR in 2011. Sure, he'll have to deal with Tiger for an entire season, but he's no stranger to that competition, and his best seasons over the years have been with Tiger around. Mickelson's stats left of a lot to be desired last year. He putted well and will always be a leader in birdies and eagles, but his driving was poor, and his GIR was way off last season.
Somehow, with a slew of personal matters going on off the course last summer, Mickelson managed to finish third on the money list in 2009. That's pretty impressive considering he only played in a Tiger-like 18 events last year and often had a lot going on in his mind. Mickelson's form near the end of the 2009 season suggests 2010 could be one of his best, since he likely will not have to deal with the personal issues that affected him in 2009. Of all the big names on the PGA Tour, Mickelson has the best chance to greatly improve on his 2009 numbers. Mickelson moved from #3 at the end of 2008 to #2 in the Official World Golf Rankings at the close of 2009. In mid-August Micklelson reported he recently has been treated for psoriatic arthritis-that affects joints and skin.
Last season, Mickelson won twice and finished in the top-10 eight times. Perhaps the most remarkable number from last year was 19 top-25s in 21 events. Even with all his top-25 finishes, Mickelson finished in the top-5 only two times other than his two wins. Look for Mickelson to improve upon that number in 2009 and possibly grab another major.
Mickelson had an up and down 2007 season and by the end he left everyone wondering exactly where his game is at. He won three events, but he mixed in a fair share of poor finishes and missed cuts. There has been plenty of speculation on his mind set after blowing the US Open two years ago, and that very well could have played a factor in his inconsistent play last year, but you can't argue with the end result which was second on the money list. If Mickelson was able to produce this well while still being distracted by his past failures, then imagine what he can do when those memories are two years removed. Mickelson is the number two pick in a draft league, and a decent pick in a salary cap league.
Mickelson sure had a strange year in 2006. He went from grand slam hopeful to an afterthought. It's hard to argue that the 72nd-hole blow-up at the U.S. Open didn't cause his downfall either. Mickelson finished the regular season, played in the Ryder Cup and disappeared. Perhaps it's exactly what he needed. The question, though, still remains: is four months away from the game going to do the trick? There's no way to know, but success should breed success in this case. If Mickelson can win early in the year, he should be fine. If he struggles early, it could be a nightmare. Look for an early win to bring out the old Mickelson.
A tale of two seasons would describe Phil Mickelson in 2005. The first season was the run up to the Masters in which he won three times. He then took the summer off. Well, maybe he should have because he had only two top-10s between the Masters and the PGA Championship. Oh, yes, he did win that. Maybe a tale of three seasons then. Mickelson is becoming more difficult to predict each year. He used to play in 30 events a year, and you knew what to expect. No majors, but a handful of wins every year. Now that he's figured out how to win Majors, he's seemingly even more focused on those events, which has lead to a Woods-like schedule: 21 events for Mickelson last year. Looking ahead, we must assume his 2005 schedule is what we should expect. That said, is he a good pick at this price? Yes. Even though he won two majors in '05, he failed to do much else. He won four events, but he did little other than that. Mickelson has slowly solved winning majors. Expect him to figure out how to win majors while still playing well at the other events.
We think Mickelson turned the corner in 2004, and things are only going to get better. The upside to this turn around is that he seems to be a factor during every big event, and what appears to be the downside, only 22 events played is a little misleading. Mickelson only took one extended break during the heart of the season last year and that was around the British Open.
His upside is huge coming off a down year. As for his performance in 2004, probably a little of 2002 and a little of 2003, but if his result at the Hope is any indication, he'll be well worth it.
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T30 at Sentry TOC
Mickelson carded a five-under 68 on Sunday at the Sentry Tournament of Champions to finish 14-under and tied for 30th.