You are what you eat. Or don’t eat in Phil Mickelson’s case.

As part of what he called a “hard reset”, which was a bit like thumping the Ctrl Alt Del buttons on your laptop when it freezes, the multiple Major winner embarked on a robust health kick last summer.

This process of bodily renewal included a six-day fasting period during which the only things he consumed were glugs of water and a special coffee blend. His stripped-back diet seemed to do the trick. He shed about 30 pounds.

Here in 2020, the year Lefty reaches the milestone of 50, the benefits of this programme of self-improvement continue to bear fruit. Golf has always been a game where age is no barrier to success and, despite the half century lurking round the dog leg, Mickelson’s healthy approach has given him a new lease of life.

The National:

He may have dropped out of the world’s top 50 in 2019 for the first time in 26 years but Mickelson is confident the new year can bring about a renaissance.

“My motivation is back and this is the best I’ve felt in years, maybe even decades,” gushed the five-time Major champion. “Physically there’s nothing holding me back from playing some of my best golf.

“When I look back on some of the highlights of tournaments that I’ve won or played well in 15 years ago in my mid 30s, I mean, it’s embarrassing the way I looked and the way I wasn’t really accountable for my health.

“Now, I’ve taken a much greater level of accountability and I feel a lot better than I did 15 years ago. So now it’s on me. Can I get the best out of me again? I believe I can.

“I’m excited for the challenge and so the greater the challenge, the greater my interest level. I respect and understand how talented these young guys are [on tour] but I also enjoy the challenge of beating them. I think I’m ready to do that.”

The National:

Mickelson turns 50 just a couple of days before June’s US Open at Winged Foot, the place where he should have won the title in 2006.

Having been runner-up in the US Open six times, his national title is the one crown he needs to complete the career grand slam.

Mickelson would be eligible to play in the US Senior Open on the Champions Tour the following week but he is hoping he still has plenty more in the tank for the regular tour.

He is not ready for his senior service just yet although he wouldn’t mind being a golden oldie at the Ryder Cup. Mickelson has played in 12 successive matches against Europe stretching back to a debut in 1995.

Becoming the third oldest man to play in the transatlantic tussle remains a driving ambition.

The National:

“I don’t often voice too many goals, but one of them is to make the Ryder Cup,” he said. “I’m at the point where I’ve got to earn my spot. If I play to the level that I believe I’m capable of I’ll make the team.

“When I stop hitting bombs I’ll play the Champions Tour, but I’m hitting some crazy bombs right now. I still have speed and I hit the ball every bit as far. Usually as guys get in their 40s they regress but I had a five, six mile an hour club head speed increase last year.

“With a little bit of commit-ment in the gym, a little bit of work ethic, there’s no reason that physically I can’t do today what I did 15, 20 years ago.

“I’ve had a lot of great things happen that lead me to be encouraged about the year ahead and I’m curious to see how the first six months go. It’s nice to have the option to move over to another tour [the over-50s], but it’s also nice to have the challenge of competing out here.”