Jun6 Mickelson US open

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Butch Harmon is convinced it's only a matter of time before Phil Mickelson supplants Tiger Woods as the world's best golfer.

Just a month after being hired to revamp Lefty's swing, Harmon said he believes his new star student is now armed with the tools needed to beat his former disciple on a regular basis.

"Tiger's got a big lead as No. 1 in the world so it'll take a couple of years but I think he can and I think he will actually," said Harmon, 63.

"He's going to have to really work hard and change a lot more things but he's willing to do that and wants to do it. He has the desire to try and rival Tiger," Harmon said.

It was just four years ago Harmon - then longtime coach of Woods - criticised Mickelson for his "pathetic" obsession with the long ball that prohibited him from winning a major. However, Harmon has since ended his 10-year relationship with Woods and was receptive to Mickelson when the three-time major winner sought help to finally challenge Woods as the game's best.

And now that he has had a chance to work with Mickelson, Harmon may shock many by suggesting his new prized pupil is every bit as gifted as Woods.

Harmon said he's "halfway through" revamping Mickelson's swing, which is now more compact at the top and balanced at the finish.

Meanwhile, Mickelson withdrew yesterday from the final PGA Tour event before the US Open and will have a cortisone shot in his left wrist. A doctor assured him he can play pain-free next week at Oakmont.

Mickelson, who withdrew from the Memorial last week after playing 11 holes, sought a second opinion on his wrist injury and was relieved to hear there was only inflammation.