WGC-HSBC Champions: Phil Mickelson hopes to banish Ryder Cup woes in Mission Hills
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 01/11/12 7:23am
Phil Mickelson is still suffering from one of the biggest disappointments of his career at the Ryder Cup, but hopes to find a spring in his step at the WGC-HSBC Champions this week.
While the 42-year-old is still in the doldrums after Europe's Medinah miracle, he is trying to take the positives out of the week, which included a superb partnership with Keegan Bradley.
The only two-time winner of the event hopes to continue to carry that new enthusiasm with him at Mission Hills - which is ironically being played on the Olazabal Course.
"I think the first two weeks following the Ryder Cup was a really tough low, one of the biggest lows of my career," said Mickelson.
"It was a very emotional time because we really thought we were going to win. We expected to win; we were playing well and we thought that we were going to do it on Sunday.
"I think that the disappointment will last a lot longer than a month. I feel that over the next two years, we'll still have the same disappointment from not winning this year's Ryder Cup. Looking back, there was some good that came from it in that I had a great couple of days playing with Keegan as a partner.
"I have this new kind of excitement and energy that Keegan has and I'm excited about working on my own game and seeing what areas I can improve on from The Ryder Cup."
Mickelson won his two WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club before the event moved to Mission Hills, and he is impressed with the Olazabal Course that awaits.
Europe's Ryder Cup stars at the WGC-HSBC Champions
"The fact that the golf tournament is moving is nothing different than what we have amongst all of the big major championships in golf," he said. "This is a great site with a great golf course to host it."
"I enjoyed our time in Shanghai with this tournament, but I think this golf course is wonderful, too.
"I played the course for the first time this morning; Keegan and I played a practice round and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was fun to play."
Many Ryder Cup stars will be at Mission Hills, although Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are missing, but Mickelson's Medinah mate Bradley will be there and is impressed with the set-up.
"I think the course is unbelievable," he said. "It's just a great golf course. It's challenging but also you can score very well if you hit it well, and the greens are great."
Current Masters champion Bubba Watson is on his first visit to China but he also has been delighted with his first impressions of the venue.
"I've heard about Mission Hills throughout the years and how great the golf courses are around here, so I was really excited when we got here this morning," said Watson.
"I've always thought this was a beautiful place, always some place I wanted to visit. When we landed in Hong Kong, we came across some big bridges to get over here, and the waterways, the coastline off those waterways right there were beautiful, just like I've seen in the movies.
"So everything looked like it was supposed to. Then this place is pretty amazing. I love golf, so this is what intrigues me, seeing the mountains around the golf course."
European Ryder Cup stars Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell will also be in the field at Mission Hills, along with Open champion Ernie Els.