DUBLIN, Ohio -- Phil Mickelson always loved playing at Riviera, but he never seemed to do well. Then something clicked and he finished second in 2007, first in 2008 and first in 2009.
Mickelson is hoping to have a similar breakthrough this week at Muirfield Village in a tournament he has yet to win.
"I'm hoping that it clicks, and I play as well on this course as I know I can, I just haven't done it yet," Mickelson said Wednesday afternoon.
One reason Mickelson hasn't won the Memorial is that it's not always a fixture on his schedule. In the last 10 years, he's only played here five times. In those five starts, Mickelson has done well, finishing in the top 10 three times.
"I like the feeling of coming back to a tournament knowing that I've won it," Mickelson said. "It brings back special memories, and I don't have those yet here, and I'd like to see if I could change that."
Course conditions have also played a factor in Mickelson's struggles at Muirfield Village.
"I feel like I've kind of forced it," Mickelson said. "I feel at times when the course has been soft and there's been rain and there's been a lot of low scores, I kind of forced the round."
Mickelson won't have to force anything on Thursday when he tees off at 8:04 a.m. with Luke Donald and Charl Schwartzel. He'll have the advantage of trying to post a low number early in perfect conditions.
Mickelson is also using the Memorial as a final tune-up for an event in two weeks that he covets the most -- the U.S. Open. He normally plays the week before a major, but Mickelson decided not to play in Memphis next week. Instead he will head to Congressional to get some early practice in before the second major of the season.
(Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)