CHASKA, August 12 – Phil Mickelson enters the 91st PGA Championship excited about his return to golf and relieved that his wife and mother have a good prognosis after starting treatments for breast cancer.The three-time major champion took a break after finishing second in the US Open back in June to be with his wife Amy as she prepared for cancer treatment then stayed through July as his mother learned she had breast cancer as well.
"I feel a sense of relief knowing long term that my mom and Amy are going to be fine," Mickelson said. "We believe everything is going to be fine but as we go through it, it’s still day to day. You have good days and you have bad days.
"In the big picture we have been fortunate and because of that it makes it easier to be practising when I’m actually at the course."
The 39-year-old US left hander made his comeback last week at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational, sharing 58th place but working on his short game to be ready for the year’s final major at Hazeltine.
"I’m fresh. I’m excited to be playing golf again. I haven’t played a lot," Mickelson said. "I feel much better about my game heading into this week than say even the US Open. So I’m excited to get this tournament going."
"Lefty" won the 2004 and 2006 Masters and 2005 PGA Championship and again came painfully close to winning the US Open, settling for his record-setting fifth runner-up finish two months ago at Bethpage.
"It has been an interesting year," Mickelson said. "We’ve had some highs and lows. We will have some more highs and lows for the next year or two. I think in the end everything is going to be fine. But right now things are day-to-day.
"That’s both golf and not golf."
World number two Mickelson is not even thinking about whether or not he will take part in the season-ending US PGA Tour playoff events or October’s Presidents Cup just yet.
"There’s a good chance we will be able to do that but we still have some procedures that we have to do over the course of the next year that will be kind of off and on," Mickelson said.
"If it fits the timeline, I’ll be able to play. But if not I’m certainly not going to adjust medical procedures based on golf so we’ll see how that plays out."
Mickelson has discovered how many people’s lives are touched by cancer and has a new appreciation for those who have helped work toward a cure.
"It’s shocking to me to see how this disease has affected so many people," Mickelson said. "I’m appreciative of all the people in the past decades that have gone through so many clinical studies that have given us so much information.
"Treating breast cancer or any cancer today is so much better than 10 years ago. It’s amazing the progress."