A year ago, he entered the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic ' five months after his last competitive tour event ' and promptly earned his 20th career tour title, thus making him a lifetime member on tour.
Ive played golf for 29, 30 years, so its not like Im going to forget how, Mickelson quipped after his victory.
This years Hope Classic will mark the 2003 debuts for a couple of other prominent players.
David Duval and Davis Love III would love to mirror Mickelsons performance in 2002. Even more so, theyd like to find the consistency that was lacking a season ago.
Both players produced bagels in the wins department. Love had a pair of runner-up finishes, but had only six top-10s in 26 starts. He ended 21st on the money list, his worst performance since 1994.
But Loves year was a success compared to Duval's.
The 2001 British Open champion dealt with a myriad of personal problems, including a break-up with his long-time finance. On the course, he had only two top-10s and finished 80th in earnings.
Duval made $838,045 last year. If he could somehow prevail this week, he would pocket $810,000.
He not only has history at this tournament, he made some in 1999. Duval became just the third player in PGA Tour history to shoot 59 when he did so in the final round to win four years ago.
Another player who is hoping a return to the desert will result in a reversal of fortune is David Berganio, Jr.
Berganio birdied the final hole to force a playoff with Mickelson a year ago, but hit his approach shot from the middle of the fairway into a water hazard on the first extra hole to lose.
That was the beginning of the end for the 34-year-old Californian. He went on to have 11 missed cuts, four withdrawals and one disqualification. He didnt make a cut for four months, and accrued just $135,405 after picking up $432,000 at the Hope.
There are 128 players competing in the five-day event, which will be contested on four different courses.
They will rotate between the Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA West, Indian Wells Country Club, Bermuda Dunes Country Club and La Quinta Country Club. All are par 72s.
A cut will be made after four rounds. The low 70 and ties will then play the final round on the host Palmer Course.
Each of the 128 professionals will be playing alongside a team of three amateurs. The amateur teams will switch professional in each round.
One player who will not be competing is Palmer.
The five-time winner, who captured the inaugural tournament in 1960, is skipping the event for just the second time since its inception. He didnt play in 1997 because of prostate cancer.
The 73-year-old has played in at least one tour event for 50 consecutive years. He said earlier this month that he might end that streak, though, he held out the possibility of playing in his own Bay Hill Invitational.