INVERNESS, Scotland – Phil Mickelson was supposed to be at the Vatican with his wife and daughter on Thursday.
Instead, after cutting short his family holiday in Italy, he was at the Scottish Open preparing for a shot at a fifth major title at next week's British Open.
"I've only played three events in the last six to eight weeks. I haven't been in a competitive frame of mind and that's what I'm working on now," he said. "I've just got to go play more and shoot a score because it doesn't feel like any one part of my game is off, it just feels like I'm not putting it together on the course. The more I play, the better it seems to get."
Mickelson shot a 1-over 73 in his first round on the links course at Castle Stuart and was 11 shots behind leader Francesco Molinari of Italy.
Mickelson didn't blame his slow start on arriving in Inverness for the tournament late Wednesday.
"I added this week because I need to play a little bit more, and I'm hoping to get a good round tomorrow so that I can play the weekend."
Mickelson missed the cut at the Greenbrier Classic last week. That came after a 65th-place finish at the U.S. Open in San Francisco and a withdrawal after a first-round 79 at the Memorial Tournament in his only events in June.
The third major, at Royal Lytham & St. Anne's, starts next Thursday. He finished runner-up to Darren Clarke at the 2011 British Open at Royal St. George's.
"My oldest daughter is really big into Greek and Roman history, so we have been over in Rome. They were at the Vatican today. I was supposed to stay with them until Friday, but I needed this," Mickelson said. "I'm not just throwing one or two shots away on the golf course, I'm throwing away four, five or six. So I've got to try to get that resolved."
After starting with birdies at Nos. 2 and 3, he lost momentum with a pair of bogeys before the turn and a double-bogey 7 on No. 12, after dropping a shot following a drive into a hazard.
Maybe some divine inspiration at the Vatican would have been a better cure?
"I have never been a big fan of that," he answered. "I just think everyone is looked on equally and you have to make your own destiny."