It began as an abstract concept, but now it was real. Plausible. Even palpable.
As Phil Mickelson bounded through the amphitheater 17th hole on Saturday, past the sunburned men and women in cowboy hats, past the girls in pigtails singing his name, the thought was no longer that he could wake up Monday morning as the No. 1 player in the world. At that point, he was already there.