The three-time Masters champion admitted to being concerned about his pre-tournament form as he bids for a fourth green jacket at Augusta National

Phil Mickelson has admitted to feeling nervous ahead of The Masters after an inauspicious start to the 2014 season.

Surprisingly, Mickelson hasn’t recorded a top 10 on the PGA Tour since The Barclays in August 2013.

As well as a run of indifferent form, Mickelson was forced to withdraw from the Valero Texas Open with a pulled abdominal muscle, although he declared himself fully fit at last week’s Shell Houston Open.

“I’m always nervous about this week because I always like coming into this week with a win earlier in the season,” said Mickelson, who has won before The Masters every year since 2010.

“I like coming into this week being in contention a few times and having that confidence and experience to build on. But I have to give myself a little bit of slack, because I haven’t been 100 percent.

“I haven’t had the results to fall back on. I haven’t experienced the pressure to feel comfortable in that environment, and so I’m certainly nervous, because it’s the week I care about the most.”

The 43-year-old claimed his first Major Championship – and first Masters title – 10 years ago, and added two more green jackets in 2006 and 2010.

“It’s a magical place to begin with but for me personally the feeling that comes over me as I drive down Magnolia Lane is I don’t have to play perfect to play well here, because I can recover from mistakes here.

“You always have a shot. You always have chance to salvage your par. You have a chance to let your short game save it for you. And if I do hit a number of good shots, I’m able to make birdies.”

Despite his uninspiring form, the popular American – who is paired with Ernie Els and Justin Rose for the first two rounds – has plenty of positive memories to feed off.

“I just love everything about this tournament. That win 10 years ago, it just propelled me. And I knew once I won one, I really felt confident I would win a few more.”