Mickelson: Driving accuracy 'irrelevant'; Langer impressed by Phil's record
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Mickelson: Driving accuracy ‘irrelevant’; Langer impressed by Phil’s record

LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 17: Phil Mickelson tees off on the 17th hole during the second round of The American Express tournament at the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West on January 17, 2020 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. -- Phil Mickelson has won three of his first four PGA Tour Champions starts, including two weeks ago when he won the Constellation Furyk and Friends by two shots in Jacksonville, Fla.

Lefty looks to defend his title this week in Richmond at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic -- the first event in the Charles Schwab Cup playoffs' three-tournament run.

Mickelson made it clear on Wednesday at the Country Club of Virginia that he’s not concerned in the least about driving accuracy here on the PGA Tour Champions.

“I look at longest, like I try to hit it the farthest out here, and I was No. 1 in driving distance (two weeks ago),” Mickelson said when informed he ranked 81st in driving accuracy in Jacksonville. “That's the way I look at it. If you want to look at stuff that's irrelevant, have at it. What I'm looking at is distance, I want to fly it 305 because I'm a really good wedge player. So if I get wedges in my hand, I'm going to be tough to beat.”

Bernhard Langer, the leader in the Charles Schwab Cup points race, said he was impressed with Mickelson’s very high percentage of wins on the PGA Tour Champions thus far, and he also talked about Mickelson’s driving accuracy this week -- or lack thereof.

“I just heard (Wednesday) that he won (Constellation Furyk & Friends) and he was 81st in driving accuracy, which blows my mind,” Langer said. “If I was 81st in driving accuracy, I wouldn't finish in the top 20, and he won the tournament.”

Not many can pull that off. So what’s the takeaway for the 64-year-old Langer here?

“It just shows that length plays a huge part in this game, and obviously the short game as well, the wedge play and the putting,” Langer said. “But I didn't think that would be possible on a golf course like we played in Jacksonville, to miss that many fairways and end up on top of the podium. But, you know, Phil did it, so all kudos to him.”

Speaking of kudos, Mickelson gave plenty to Langer on Thursday as he called the five-time Charles Schwab Cup winner the “gold standard” on this senior circuit.

“That man at 64, what he's been doing is incredible,” Mickelson said of Langer. “That's the guy to look up to to elongate your career, have a great quality of life. And it's fun for us to be able to play golf, feel good, come out here and compete. There's a high quality, high level of play out here.”

Langer tees off for the first round on Friday at 12:30 pm ET with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jim Furyk, while Mickelson is off at 11:13 am ET with Wes Short, Jr. and Glen Day.

About the author

Garrett Johnston

Garrett Johnston

Garrett Johnston is a golf journalist who has covered golf for over a decade and 30 major championships on site. Follow him on Twitter @JohnstonGarrett