PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan recently described the six-month stretch that kicks off with the Players in March as "the season of championships." But could this reconfigured part of the schedule possibly begin without one of the tour's biggest stars? It sure sounds that way.
Phil Mickelson, in an interview with GolfChannel.com on the eve of the Genesis Open, hinted that he could skip the tournament at TPC Sawgrass next month.
“It’s not one I feel like I have to play,” Mickelson told GolfChannel.com. “It’s not a must-play for me because I’m 48 and I’ve played it 25 times and I’ve already won it. If I were young and early in my career, I would say yes because I think it’s as close to a major as it can get. But it’s not the best course for me.”
Mickelson, who turns 49 in June, has previously talked about limiting his schedule to courses that suit him. But possibly not playing in the PGA Tour's flagship event and turning down a chance to claim the sport's biggest winner's check would certainly be a surprise. Mickelson is at Riviera this week after adding the Genesis Open to his schedule during last week's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which he won for a record-tying fifth time for his 44th career PGA Tour title.
The Players moved back to March this year and the PGA Championship moved into its May slot setting up six consecutive months with premier events that include all four majors and concludes with the FedEx Cup Playoffs in August. It's an exciting, but busy period that has many players tinkering with their schedules.
Mickelson won the Players when it moved to May in 2007, but he hasn't played well often at TPC Sawgrass regardless of the month. The five-time major champ has missed the cut at the event five of the past six years and only has three top-10s in his 25 starts.
“I just haven’t played well there,” Mickelson added. “I’m curious to see how it goes this year, because the course is going to be a totally different one than what we saw in May. So I’m curious to see if it’s better for me or not.”
Whether that study comes in person or from watching on TV remains to be seen.