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Page last updated at 11:47 GMT, Wednesday, 7 July 2010 12:47 UK

Phil Mickelson gunning for victory at Loch Lomond

Barclays Scottish Open, Loch Lomond, 8-11 July
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Radio Scotland, with updates on BBC Radio 5 live Full coverage details

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Mickelson not concerned by rankings

By Clive Lindsay
BBC Scotland at Loch Lomond

Phil Mickelson is concentrating on winning the Scottish Open on Sunday, rather than the prospect of taking over from Tiger Woods as world number one.

"It would be cool, but it's not something I'm thinking about," said the American, who can leapfrog Woods with a second place finish at Loch Lomond.

"I'm just trying to get my game sharp.

"It would be cool more because I've come so close to winning this tournament and it would mean a lot to me to break through and finally win."

Asked what his thoughts would be if he did become number one to end 250 weeks in second spot, Mickelson said: "I have a good answer for that, but let's not talk hypotheticals and I will tell you on Sunday if it happens."

Mickelson will be up against US Open champion Graeme McDowell, USPGA winner YE Yang, two-time Scottish Open champion Ernie Els, defending champion Martin Kaymer and compatriot Lucas Glover, when the tournament gets under way on Thursday morning.

But with the Open just one week away, only two of the leading 11 Europeans in the world will be competing for the £500,000 first prize, meaning someone could gain significant points towards a potential Ryder Cup place.

There have been fears about the condition of the greens at Loch Lomond because of the UK's harsh winter.

But Mickelson, who finished runner-up after a play-off at Loch Lomond in 2007, said: "I haven't played it yet, but the course looks lush, green and beautiful."

He admitted that he had hoped to come over to Scotland earlier to prepare for Loch Lomond and the following week's Open at St Andrews.

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However, for personal reasons he did not wish to divulge, his arrival was delayed and he will be playing the course for the first time in Wednesday's pro-am.

Even so, he had high hopes of making an impact at Loch Lomond - and next week in Fife.

"Early in my career, I did not have the best technique for controlling the ball in the wind," explained this year's Masters champion.

"I was coming too steep, putting too much spin on the ball.

"And so I feel like, from 2004 on, Troon was really the first year where I keyed into this.

"I've had much better performances in the Open here but still not what I would hope.

"In my opinion, the thing that I've struggled with most with here has actually been the greens.

"There are a lot of the fescues on the greens, it's a stronger blade of grass and I haven't adjusted properly.

"If I can change that, I think I should be able to contend. Actually, I've had my most consistent success at St Andrews."

Mickelson, who admitted that it had always been a dream to win the Open, did not think that Woods' decision to spend time with his family back in the USA ahead of St Andrews would seriously hamper the world number one's chances.

"I think, living in Florida, it's only a five-hour time change," said the 40-year-old. "It's not that long a flight and I don't think it will make a big difference."

Woods triumphed at St Andrews in 2000 and 2005 by eight and five strokes respectively, while Mickelson was 11th and 60th.



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