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Darren Clarke
Defending champ Phil Mickelson eager to uncork new British Open effort

British Open week began here Monday with casual practice rounds and casual chatter. As is only fair, last year's champion, Phil Mickelson, got to chatter the most. He said he was not discouraged about playing poorly ever since he won that title at Muirfield, one that anybody who knew anything about golf was sure he never could. Mickelson's game, after all, just didn't seem suited to playing in rain slicks and navigating mudslides and areas of rough that resembled cornfields, and getting the ball close to the hole on gigantic rock-hard greens that took his high shots and spit them off the sides and down the hills. Then he made four birdies in the closing six holes at...

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