Why isn’t Phil Mickelson teeing it up this week at Shadow Creek, the site of his big victory over Tiger Woods two years ago?
It appears Mickelson has $9 million reasons – well, kind of.
“Even if I beat all 78 guys, it would still be a letdown,” Mickelson said Thursday at Country Club of Virginia. “I made so much more last time I played, that I just didn't see the benefit. Sorry.”
While the comment was made tongue in cheek, Mickelson believes his road to Augusta best goes through Richmond, Virginia, where he will make his second career PGA Tour Champions start beginning Friday at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic. Mickelson will look to build off his maiden senior win two months ago at Ozarks National while some of the top names on the PGA Tour go at it at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas.
The 50-year-old Mickelson has missed seven cuts in 15 worldwide starts this year, including most recently at the U.S. Open. He does have a trio of top-3 finishes, including a T-2 in Memphis and T-3 in Saudi Arabia, but outside of that he boasts just one other top-25 showing.
Mickelson plans to return to the Tour for next week’s Zozo Championship at Sherwood and also play the Houston Open at newly redesigned Memorial Park before making his 28th Masters start next month. The three-time Masters champ, who tied for 36th last year, added that he seriously considered playing the PGA Tour Champions finale at Phoenix Country Club instead of Houston.
“But I felt like the course was going to be a little short and tight for what I wanted to do, to try to open it up for Augusta,” Mickelson said. “You've got to really swing as fast as you can there, get the ball out there, hit it high, hit it far and I didn't feel like Phoenix Country Club was conducive to that. I'm not sure if Memorial Park is, we haven't played there, but I would think that it would be more so than Phoenix.”