SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Phil Mickelson was born in San Diego, raised in Scottsdale, Ariz., and resides in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
But the New York metropolitan area is practically Lefty's second home.
"I don't know how to explain the incredible feeling it is to play here in this area," Mickelson said Saturday at the 98th PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club.
"To have the people be as supportive and as kind and loyal as they've been to me and my family over the years; It's my favorite place to play."
Mickelson attracts crowds at golf courses all over the world, but few possess the vigor of the fans in the country's most populous region.
That's been the case at Baltusrol, a 121-year-old gem of a golf club in the suburbs of Newark and roughly an hour's drive from New York City.
"When things aren't going well, they get me back on track and give me that little extra energy boost," he said. "When things are going well, they push to even greater heights."
Phil's fanatics have been out in full force all weekend, even though he hasn't given them much to cheer about.
Mickelson's play through three rounds of the year's final major has been pedestrian. The 46-year-old is eight shots off the lead at 1 under for the weekend after opening 71-70 and shooting a 68 Saturday.
The man who wowed us with backwards shots and ones from the hospitality tent provided another classic Phil moment Friday -- one he'd probably like to forget.
Mickelson sliced his opening tee shot onto a nearby street and into a residential yard before settling for a triple bogey. But in true Phil form, he didn't let that ruin his day.
The five-time major winner battled back to sink four birdies and emerged at even-par.
On Saturday, Mickelson again opened with a bogey on No. 1 -- and again rolled in four birdies to emerge with his first sub-par score of the tournament.
"Later in the day, getting in contention, it's really something to behold," Mickelson said.
Mickelson knows his chances of hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy for a second time at Baltusrol -- as he did in 2005 -- are slim, but he's happy to take a long-term approach.
Particularly for when he returns to his second home in late August.
"I'm hopeful that even though it's not happening this week, in five or six weeks when we come back for Barclays at Bethpage Black (on Long Island), I'm hopeful to put it all together there," he said.