After 18 tries, Phil Mickelson seems to have fallen in love with the Open Championship.
"My attitude has evolved favorably," he said with a smile on Tuesday. "It took me a while to be able to understand what it meant to get the ball on the ground."
His affection for the game's oldest major is not surprising as Mickelson arrives to Royal Lytham and St. Annes a year after his career-best joint-runner-up finish to Darren Clarke at Royal St. Georges.
“I think what was so fun for me about last year was that I was able to make a move in horrible weather and that’s one of the things that has excited me because historically I’ve not played well in bad weather,” Mickelson said.
Conveniently, Mickelson said he began to figure out how to succeed in the Open Championship in 2004 - when he posted his second-best finish, ending up third behind winner Todd Hamilton and Ernie Els.
"Now when it gets really bad weather," he said, "my misses in crosswinds are not as bad as they used to be because it's on the ground and out of the wind a lot quicker."
Mickelson snapped a slide of eight consecutive over-par rounds with at 15-under stretch through the middle part of the Scottish Open. He walked away from Castle Stuart knowing what he needs to work on to contend again this week. He's ready for the challenge.
“Now I look at it a little bit differently." he said. "I almost welcome it.”