Less than a week after blasting a rule that cost Jim Furyk a spot in the field at The Barclays for missing his pro-am tee time, Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from Thursday’s pro-am at TPC Boston the Golf Channel has learned.
Unlike Furyk, however, Mickelson’s withdrawal will not cost him a spot at the second playoff event because Lefty used a special option that allows top players to miss a pro-am. Instead the player must participate in an “alternative sponsor function.”
Players who finished in the top 30 on the previous year’s money or FedEx Cup lists have two pro-am opt outs that are contingent on sponsor approval. Mickelson used his first opt out earlier this year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and instead had dinner with a handful of corporate clients.
On Friday Mickelson will attend an “evening function” with Deutsche Bank chief executive officer Seth Waugh and several guests to make up for his missed tee time.
According to Andy Pazder, the Tour’s senior vice president of tournament administration, this is the first year of the opt out provision and only about “a half dozen” players have used it.
“In a pro-am three or four amateurs are going to get five hours with Phil on the golf course, which is great, but maybe it’s better if you have a dinner with 20 executives and clients for two or three hours,” Pazder said. “Maybe that’s a better use of a player’s time.”
Last Wednesday Mickelson criticized the pro-am rule which cost Furyk five spots on the current FedEx Cup points list saying, “it's not protecting the players. It's not protecting the sponsors. It applies to only half the field and yet it affects the integrity of the competition. I cannot disagree with it more.”
On Tuesday the PGA Tour suspended the pro-am policy, which was approved in 2004, for the remainder of the 2010 season and will review the policy in November at the Policy Board meeting.