LA QUINTA, Calif. – If more people in San Diego shared his passion for the Chargers, Phil Mickelson figures the NFL team wouldn't have bolted for Los Angeles.
''I just wish that all the people in San Diego loved them the way I do and fought a little harder to keep them, but I understand it,'' the golf star said Thursday after the first round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Mickelson grew up in San Diego and lives in the area.
''What's disappointing to me is that the city of San Diego didn't appreciate the value that they had,'' Mickelson said. ''And it was obvious in their votes. So, I'm sad, but I don't blame them. I understand the way that the economics in the NFL works and the ticket sharing of 60/40 percent and how the suite money is where you make your money. I get it. And the suites at Qualcomm are the worst I've ever seen out of all the stadiums I've been to. So I totally understand where the Chargers are at.
''When the vote came in ... it was disappointing. Because it, if it were me, on the other end, I would feel very unwanted. It's no fun being at a place you're not wanted.''
Lefty shot a 4-under 68 at La Quinta Country Club in his return from two sports hernia surgeries. He will be back in San Diego next week for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.