Masters 2012: Upbeat Phil Mickelson Likes His Chances Despite Jungle Adventure at Augusta

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 05: Phil Mickelson of the United States on the second green during the first round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

It takes more than a romp in the jungle, a lost ball, and a triple-bogey-7 to discourage Phil Mickelson.

Despite a costly, unplanned detour through the wilds of Augusta National Golf Club, Phil Mickelson likes his chances heading into Friday’s second round of the Masters.

“Tarzan-y-ish,” is how Lefty termed his “hoofin’ through the jungle” after slicing a drive so far left he probably ran into Cheetah while searching for his missing Callaway Black Hex.

“I’ve never lost a ball here at the Masters, that I can think of, besides water,” Mickelson told ESPN after pulling himself together enough to make three birdies in the final five holes and card a 2-over 74 after the mess on No. 10. “I’ve never had a lost ball. That’s just nuts.”

Considering his errant play on a day when he carded four bogeys and four birdies (in addition to that ungainly triple-bogey seven) and conceded he had no control over his wayward swing, Mickelson was not unhappy with his position, even if he ended the day seven shots behind leader Lee Westwood.

“I missed the ball in the wrong spots, my short game didn’t save me, I let three or four shots go, I hit a horrific drive on 10, made triple,” Mickelson recited. “I’m only two-over.”

And that, claimed the southpaw who said his putting was “phenomenal,” though he did not play “smart” golf, was excellent news. All he had to do to make a run at his fourth green jacket was “shoot six- or seven-under” to “be right in it for the weekend.”

Phil’s excellent adventure, by the way, included a timeout on the 18th tee for an equipment tune-up. After checking the club head of his adjustable Callaway RAZR Fit driver and calling over an official to ensure he could do so, Mickelson pulled out a wrench and tightened a screw. He then proceeded to hit one of his few decent tee shots of the day, prompting the ESPN yakkers to wonder why he had not tweaked the big stick earlier.

With all the drama, and though he maintained his usual cheerful demeanor, it had to be a long day for Mickelson. The 41-year-old arrived at the course some seven hours before his tee time to watch three of golf’s legends hit the ceremonial first drives. It was an event he had observed on TV annually and had always wanted to see in person.

“It was perfect,” he said of witnessing Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus kick off the 2012 Masters. “I came out, watched them, had breakfast with [swing coach] Butch [Harmon], had a practice session, and went back home and took a nap. It was a really cool experience,” Mickelson said.

Still, we’re betting he’s looking forward to sleeping in a bit later on Friday, when he’ll tee it up at 10:48 a.m.

You can view the live Masters leaderboard here.

For more on the 2012 Masters, check out SB Nation's golf page and this StoryStream.

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