The Barclays 2012 Preview: Could Phil Mickelson Surprise?

Jul 6, 2012, White Sulphur Springs, WV, USA; Phil Mickelson on the 9th green during the second round of the Greenbrier Classic at the The Old White TPC. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Phil Mickelson could quietly be a favorite to win The Barclays 2012.

Phil Mickelson has had a rocky season, but with The Barclays set to tee off Thursday, being in Farmingdale, New York, will likely be a sigh of relief.

Mickelson, ranked just No. 20 in the world rankings and only sitting at 14th in the FedEx Cup point standings, simply does well when he's in the state of New York. Randall Mell of The Golf Channel points out that Lefty has four second-place finishes there.

"I love this area," Mickelson told Golf Channel. "I love the golf courses. I love the people. I love how knowledgeable they are about sports. They just get it.

"My kids and my wife get this new energy when they come here. They are in Manhattan right now with some friends. This city just brings out a whole different energy level for them. I just love exposing them to all the culture New York has to offer."

Of course, the usual sort of challengers will be there. Tiger Woods has found his mojo this year. Former Arizona Wildcat Jim Furyk, young-gun Rickie Fowler and last year's winner of The Barclays, Dustin Johnson, all are hoping to earn spots on the U.S. team in the Ryder Cup.

But the former Arizona State Sun Devil could surprise despite failing to land a top-25 since May. With the move of The Barclays to Bethpage State Park, where Mickelson has gotten second-place twice in U.S. Open events, anything could happen.

For more on The Barclays 2012, check out SB Nation's golf hub.

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