Phil Mickelson disclosed at the beginning of his pretournament press conference today that he's been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, an affliction that affects a small percentage of the population and can cause chronic pain in the joints. He said he began sensing that something was wrong roughly eight weeks ago, when he woke up and had pain in certain areas of his body; he had trouble walking, and his left index finger was sprained, as was his right wrist.
Two trips to the Mayo Clinic resulted in the diagnosis, and Mickelson has been receiving treatment for the disease, injecting himself once a week with a drug called Enbrel.
"I'm no expert, but I've got the best kind that you can possibly have, and it's very treatable," Mickelson said. "I'll probably take this drug for about a year and feel 100 percent. I'll stop it and see if it goes into remission. If it does come back, I'll start the treatment again and should be able to live a normal life without having any adverse effects. I'm not very concerned about it."
Mickelson, whose wife, Amy, and mother, Mary, were both diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, has played in three tournaments since the US Open, where he tied for fourth. He missed the cut in the Scottish Open, tied for 48th at the British Open, and tied for 46th at last week's Bridgestone Invitational. Looking back on it, those mediocre results perhaps had more to do with the medical situation he was dealing with as opposed to any self-imposed pressure he was under to grab the world's No. 1 ranking from Tiger Woods, as has been speculated by some.
Mickelson, who estimated he's at 90 percent, said the diagnosis and subsequent treatment haven't impacted his play.
"It may have had an effect on my preparation for Europe. It didn't affect my play at the [British] Open. I was able to prep the way I did," he said. "Heading into the PGA, I'm probably not as sharp as I would like to be. But I'm able to work on it, and I believe that the game's coming around. I'm not sure where I'll be on Thursday, but hopefully I'll be ready."