The PGA Tour’s short-lived nightmare that Phil Mickelson may not decide to tee it up in their flagship event is over as Mickelson confirmed to Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis on Monday that he will indeed take part in the 2019 Players Championship.
On more than one occasion over the past month, Mickelson has indicated that the Players wasn’t a “must-play” for him. In fact, leaving on Friday after missing the cut at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, Mickelson flat-out said he wasn’t sure the event was worth his time.
“I’m 48 and I’ve played it 25 times and I’ve already won it,” Mickelson said last month. “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.”
He hedged a bit last week, but some frustration with his play at Bay Hill seeped into his comments.
“I mean, I want to play it, so I would most likely, but if I hit it like this, it’s pointless, so I got to figure something out,” Mickelson said after rounds of 68-78 to miss the cut by a stroke.
Hanging with Steve Loy and Glenn Cohen while practicing at TPC. The course here is in spectacular shape with very little rough, much like Augusta! If I remember correctly, the week before I won at Pebble I missed the cut. Just saying😎 #Lefty pic.twitter.com/4wHW1ZOmPe
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) March 10, 2019
Whether Mickelson’s balk was a course setup play or a realistic consideration, a scouting trip over the weekend seemed to please the 2007 Players Champion, tweeting out that the course had very little rough.
On Monday, as the assembled media arrived in Jacksonville following the conclusion of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Mickelson confirmed to Lewis that he was planning to play.
For the record @PhilMickelson will compete in @THEPLAYERSChamp. Walked a practice round with him and after seeing The Stadium Course the last two days, Phil is optimistic that he can compete. He likes the setup with 2 1/2 inch rough and somewhat soft conditions. pic.twitter.com/vt8alJSrqv
— Todd Lewis (@ToddLewisGC) March 11, 2019
This will be Mickelson’s 26th appearance in the event, but he’s missed the cut at TPC Sawgrass five of the past six years. Perhaps the tournament’s move from May back to March is a good omen for Lefty, who competed in 13 renewals in the March schedule spot, highlighted by a pair of top 10s.
Mickelson will play his first two rounds alongside Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar in one of the tournament’s featured groups. They’re slated to go off the 10th tee at 9:04 a.m. on Thursday.