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Mickelson ready to overcome Links obstacle

Phil Mickelson is moving on from his heart break at the U.S. Open and focusing on another major he has never won despite his distinguished career: the British Open

The first obstacle? Figuring out links golf. He though he had it nailed, but at last year's major he missed the cut. Back to the drawing board, Phil.

''It's still a challenge for me, still not something I grew up doing, still something I'm trying to learn as I continue through my career,'' Mickelson said Wednesday. ''So I'm always cautiously optimistic.''

Mickelson is right to be cautious, he hasn't won in Europe in 20 years. But he aims to remedy that even before the British Open at Muirfield begins by taking on the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart this week.

''I think everybody has to find out what works for them to get ready for the big events,'' said Mickelson, one of only four Americans in the Scottish Open field.

''When we moved the tournament from Loch Lomond to a links-style course here at Castle Stuart, I thought it ... enhanced the opportunity for players to play the week before and to get their games sharp for the British Open.''

A good result at Castle Stuart and who knows what could happen in his next event in Scotland.

''I think it would be, for me, one of my greatest accomplishments to be able to conquer links golf and to win an Open Championship over here,'' said Mickelson, a four-time major winner but without an Open from eitherside of the Atlantic included in that tally.

''It's time to play now. It's time to shoot the scores and hit the shots that I've spent 20 years now trying to work on.''

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