‘I’m grateful to be a part of this tournament,’ Mickelson says

Outspoken supporter of LIV Golf gives a brief interview after finishing the final round of the 2023 Masters Tournament.
Published: Apr. 9, 2023 at 6:01 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - Phil Mickelson has turned back the clock at Augusta National.

The 52-year-old Mickelson shot a 7-under 65 in the closing round of the Masters, sinking a 15-foot birdie putt at the final hole to give himself a shot at a fourth green jacket.

Lefty walked to the clubhouse with an 8-under 280 and trailing leader Jon Rahm by only two strokes. Brooks Koepka is also at 8 under.

Rahm and Koepka still have eight holes to play.

Mickelson can only sit back and watch, having matched his best round ever at the Masters and a score that might be good enough if the final group falters.

He already is the oldest major champion in golf history, winning the 2021 PGA Championship. Since then, he’s struggled with his game and become the face of the upstart LIV Golf tour, a role that has brought such controversy he skipped last year’s Masters.

But he was glad to be a p[art of the Masters this year.

“To come out today and play the way I did and hit the shots when I needed, it’s so much fun,” he said. “I’m grateful to be a part of this tournament and to be here competing and then to play well, it means a lot.”

Gratitude sums up a lot of the sentiments he expressed at a news conference after the final round.

“I certainly have a lot of gratitude to be able to be here, be part of this tournament, play well, play good golf and take advantage of a unique opportunity that I have, which is to play golf at a very high level at a later stage in life, given that I have not had any physical injuries and I’m able to swing the club the way I want to and, with a little bit of work and dedication, to compete against some of the best players in the world on some of the biggest stages,” he said.

He said technically, he’s been playing and performing really well, but he would have a few lapses.

“I think when you come here to Augusta, you end up having a sense of gratitude. It’s hard not to, right? This is what we strive for. There’s kind of a calm that comes over you; the fact that we get to play and compete in this Masters, and I think we’ve all been very appreciative of that,” he said.

“I know after missing last year, to be here this year, it means a lot to me and it means a lot to me to be a part of this tournament going forward. I love everything about this because it’s what I dreamed of as a kid to be a part of, and I’ve got so many great memories wrapped up here at Augusta.”

Despite the controversy, he said he’s satisfied with his decision to affiliate with LIV Golf.

“I’m happy where I’m at. I wanted something different for a lot of reasons, and I’m getting a lot out of it because having a team environment when I was in high school and college golf, it elevated my game, having players to play with, compete with. It brought a great energy and excitement. And that’s what this is doing for me at LIV. I’m not saying it’s for everybody, but it’s been awesome for me, and I love it,” he said.