Lefty's title defense in Phoenix remains in doubt


Phil Mickelson’s title defense of this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open remains in doubt following his withdrawal from last week’s Farmers Insurance Open because of a back injury.

After leaving Torrey Pines on Friday, Mickelson flew to Dalton, Ga., for a consultation with back specialist Tom Boers.

“My facet joints had locked up,” he said in a press release. “Tom restored my mobility, but I still have inflammation that will take a week or two to subside.”

Mickelson has already withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am in Phoenix and will not make himself available to media interviews prior to Thursday’s opening round.

“If it was any other tournament I’d skip it,” said Mickelson, “but I’m defending, it’s my second hometown and I love the event. I’ll have a light practice session and if it goes well I may try to play.”

Mickelson had been scheduled to compete each of the next two weeks, following his start in Phoenix with an appearance at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am before taking two weeks off. He has previously maintained that he would like to limit his schedule by as much as 25 percent from the number of tournaments he played last year.

“I’m itching to play,” he explained, “but I have to look at the big picture. I have a number of tournaments I want to play and play well this year, including the majors, so I have to be realistic about how I feel in the short term.”