Phil Mickelson did not get a victory at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis this past weekend, but he achieved something almost as good.
Charging up the leaderboard, and falling just two strokes short of winner Harris English, Lefty gained some much-needed confidence going into the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
"It was an encouraging week," he said. "I felt like I progressed and got better each day."
Many top players chose to take the week off, but not Mickelson, who has finished near the top of several U.S. Opens but has not finished first at a major since the 2010 Masters. His game looked a little ragged in the first round at St. Jude, then rounded into shape.
His improved iron play and a steady 3-wood could be useful.
"Next week at Merion, distance won't be as critical as TPC Southwind," he said. "I'l be able to hit higher and softer shots."