Phil Mickelson is T2 through 36 holes at the Safeway Open, but for the rest of the new season, it’s unlikely Lefty will compete in smaller events like this one in Napa.
Following his second-round 69 at Silverado, Mickelson admitted to reporters that the arduous PGA Tour season has taken its toll on the 48-year-old, and that next year his schedule will be a lot more compact.
“I love what I do,” Mickelson said. “But now, as opposed to playing the tournaments you’re expected to play in or whatever, now I’m going to play in the tournaments that I like, that are best for me, even if it doesn’t make sense or people have a problem with it.”
Phil has always done things his own way, and he’s sticking to his new plan whether people support his decision or not.
“As I looked at my schedule next year, and the way some of the tournaments are, yeah, there will be some that I miss that people will be upset about, but I’m not going to worry about it.”
Mickelson captured his first victory in almost five years in March at the WGC-Mexico Championship. It was his 43rd PGA Tour victory, but his quality of play dropped off dramatically later in the year as the season wore on him.
Mickelson missed the cut at the PGA Championship, then finished T58 out of 70 players at the BMW Championship before coming in dead last at the Tour Championship. He closed out the season with an ugly performance at the Ryder Cup.
On Friday, Phil noted that his struggles at the end of the season were a major factor in his decision. He wants to play his best, and he doesn’t believe he can do so anymore if he plays too much.
“I’m going to have to start limiting the number of tournaments that I play so that I can play those at a higher level, because I’m getting a little bit more mental fatigue and not able to focus and see the shot as clearly as I’d like for so many weeks in a row.”
“I’ve learned from this. At 48, it’s not a smart thing to do. I won’t do it anymore. I won’t do it again, playing this much golf. I’ll pace myself much more.”
Just in case some would see this announcement as Mickelson waving the white flag for his career, he reiterated again that the primary reason for this is to give himself a better chance to perform well in the tournaments that matter most to him.
“I’m able to play at a high level, but it’s so difficult without physical and mental sharpness, to play at a high level. It doesn’t come easy anymore. I need to recover.
Mickelson will now try to follow-up this major career announcement in style, with a win in his home state of California this weekend.