But Mickelson has had trouble at British Open

Who in the world is better equipped for the British Open -- and particularly the Old Course at St. Andrews -- than Phil Mickelson?

After all, there's a premium on driving length, not on accuracy. Creativity around the greens is a must. And if you are looking for someone to hit from gorse, out of a cavernous pot bunker, off a macadam road or even off the hood of an Aston-Martin, who better than Phil the Thrill?

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But despite his ample prerequisites, Mickelson has been a bust at the British. With only one top-10 finish in 16 appearances, it's been his least successful tournament. In each of the other three major championships, Mickelson has no fewer than eight top-10s.

So what gives when Mickleson travels to the British Isles?

"It wasn't until 2004 that I started playing the wind effectively," Mickelson told reporters Tuesday. "Even when I would hit low shots, I would have way too much spin on it. It wasn't until 2004 that I had kind of an epiphany of how to do that by taking more club and swinging easier."

Mickelson was speaking of his third-place finish at Royal Troon, a stroke behind winner Todd Hamilton and runner-up Ernie Els. But even since his "epiphany" Mickelson has been shaky, his best finish a tie for 19th in 2008 at Royal Birkdale. Last week at the Scottish Open, Mickelson missed the cut.

"I've struggled on the greens here. I've struggled on the thicker grain of grass," Mickelson said. "I've made some adjustments over the years to try to improve that, getting a little bit more loft on my putter, trying to get it above the grass so the ball starts on line a little bit better than it has."

After winning the Masters and contending on the back nine at the U.S. Open, no player has been as strong in the majors this year. The ultimate test for Mickelson begins Thursday at 9:20 a.m., when he tees off with Colin Montgomerie and Retief Goosen.

Mickelson said Tuesday that St. Andrews is the course in the British Open rotation where he feels most comfortable, though his record at the Old Course -- T40 (1995), T11 (2000), T60 (2005) -- suggests otherwise.

"If it were up to me, I would play this championship here every year," Mickelson said. "There's no question this one best suits my game because there's so much more room off the tee."