Phil Mickelson summons coach

Updated: August 9, 2013, 10:00 AM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Phil Mickelson summoned his swing coach, Butch Harmon, from the Sky TV commentary booth for an emergency range session early Thursday evening after a perplexing 1-over-par 71 that saw him make two double-bogeys in the opening round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club.

Mickelson's score left him in a tie for 50th -- along with Tiger Woods -- six shots back of co-leaders Jim Furyk and Adam Scott.

And it was troubling enough for Mickelson to summon his longtime coach Harmon to try and sort out a few things in near darkness.

"I was working on the exact opposite thing we needed to do; I'm glad I had a few minutes with him," Mickelson said. "I wanted to be able to think about what I want to do tomorrow tonight as opposed to trying to find it in the morning.

"I fought hard. But even when I was making birdies, it didn't feel good. I was fighting to keep it in play. It's starting to feel a little better now. Tomorrow will be a big day."

Mickelson began his round horribly, making a bogey at the third hole and a double-bogey 7 at the par-5 fourth, where he hit his tee shot out of bounds. But he rallied with four birdies over a six-hole stretch to get to 1 under before finishing with a disappointing double-bogey 6 at the 18th after an errant tee shot.

Mickelson, who won the Open Championship less than three weeks ago after winning the Scottish Open the week before, said he felt fortunate to keep the round from being worse than it was.

"The first four holes were like a shock to my system," he said. "Hitting it out of bounds on 4. I mean out of bounds is not even in play. I hit that so far right. To make a double on a par 5 that's the only one we can get to (in two shots), a birdie hole ... is awful. I got off to a terrible start.

"And to get it back to around par -- I was actually under there for a while. That took a lot of fight. Fortunately, I'm in a position where I can get a low round and get back in it. But it really could have gotten away from me."

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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