Leave it to Phil Mickelson to put his own spin on the adage “when one door closes, another door opens.”
No sooner had Mickelson’s FedEx Cup season ended Friday with a missed cut at the Northern Trust, where he failed to reach the second round of the PGA Tour’s playoffs for the first time, than he announced he will make his PGA Tour Champions debut today at the Ozarks National event at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri.
“I’ve been playing well and I want to play,” Mickelson said in a tweet Friday. “I wish I was playing in Chicago next week but excited to play my first Champions event.”
Mickelson, who turned 50 in June, has been coy about how much – or how little – he intends to play on the Champions circuit. He started the FedEx Cup playoffs in 67th position and needed to remain among the top 70 to advance to the BMW Championship this week, something he failed to do.
With the U.S. Open at Winged Foot four weeks away, Mickelson made the decision to play the Champions event, which has an unusual Monday-through-Wednesday schedule.
It raises the immediate question of how Mickelson will fare in his first start against the 50-and-older set. His last PGA Tour victory came in February 2019, when he won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Earlier this month he tied for second place at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Recently, Jim Furyk won his Champions Tour debut when he captured the Ally Challenge, becoming the 19th player to win his first event on the tour.
Mickelson isn’t expected to shift his focus from the PGA Tour, however. He said earlier this year he would not split time between the tours, suggesting he might play as many as three Champions events this year while continuing to play the PGA Tour.
Ron Green Jr.