Phil Mickelson returns to action at Greenbrier Classic

USA TODAY Sports

Phil Mickelson headlines a strong field this week at the Greenbrier Classic, the penultimate event before the British Open.

Phil Mickelson, in the field for this week's Greenbrier Classic, will make his first start since that heartbreaking runner-up finish at the U.S. Open.

Mickelson, who came in second at Merion Golf Club for a record sixth time in his country's national championship, will try to shrug off the after-effects of the last major and tune up his game for the next one, the British Open in about two and a half weeks. It won't necessarily be easy for Lefty, who hasn't exactly bent the Greenbrier Resort's Old White TPC Course to his will; Amanda's dad missed the cut both times he played the 7,274-yard, par-70 track, in 2011 and 2012.

Joining Mickelson in West Virginia will be a slew of top players, including his 2012 Ryder Cup partner Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson, and Webb Simpson. Captain of the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team Tom Watson will also be in attendance.

The Champions Tour stalwart will make his second PGA Tour start of the season. Watson missed the cut at the Masters in April.

Of particular import this week, as PGATour.com's Jeff Shain noted, are the three Open Championship spots up for grabs. In addition to two positions available via a condensed money list involving The Players Championship and five events between the Memorial Tournament and this week's tilt, a golfer not already qualified will earn his way to Muirfield with a top-five finish, according to Shain.

Also front and center in this week's conversation is the status of anchored putting. In the wake of commissioner Tim Finchem's Monday announcement that the tour will go along with the USGA's ban on the stroke, Bradley, Simpson, and other navigators of the long stick are likely to garner even more attention than they usually do.

More golf from SB Nation:

PGA Tour reverses course on anchored putting ban

Inbee Park wins 3rd straight major | Draws Tiger comparisons

Tiger injured again, and the prospect of another lost summer at the majors

Rory admits he’s lost | Blames putter

Four Days in Fort Worth: Putting on a PGA Tour event

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