Mickelson to Skip International

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DENVER -- Masters champion Phil Mickelson won't play next month in the International, the first time in five years he will take the week off before an American major.
 
Mickelson, who has never missed the International since he turned pro in 1992, said he wants to spend the first week of August getting ready for the PGA Championship, to be played Aug. 12-15 at Whistling Straits, a links-styled course along Lake Michigan.
 
The International, which he has won twice, is played in high altitude at Castle Pines Golf Club and uses the modified Stableford scoring system, which encourages players to be aggressive.
 
'I love the course and the tournament and the people there,' Mickelson said in a statement. 'But because it's the week before the PGA, I don't have any other time to practice for that major the way I practiced for the other majors this year.'
 
Mickelson spent extra time at Augusta National before the week of the tournament, trying to identify areas where he could save precious shots each round. He shot 31 on the back nine Sunday to win his first major.
 
He also spent two days at Shinnecock Hills the week before the U.S. Open, and was tied for the lead until making a three-putt double bogey on the 71st hole.
 
Still, Mickelson has always said he prefers to play the week before a major to get into a competitive mode. The last time he took the week off before a U.S. major was in 1999, when his wife was eight months pregnant with their first child. He didn't play the week before the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, where he finished one shot behind.
 
Mickelson is going to the Scottish Open next week for the second straight time, which is played on a soggy, American-designed course the week before the British Open is held on a links.
 
This will be the first time a major is held at Whistling Straits.
 
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