Many golf fans are surprised to see Phil Mickelson’s name atop the leader board through two rounds of the Desert Classic following the 48-year-old claiming he was rusty on the eve of his first start of 2019. But even more people will be surprised to not see the five-time major champ teeing it up next week at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Following a second-round 68 that kept Mickelson in the lead, the San Diego native announced he wouldn’t play in his hometown event, snapping a 28-year run of playing in the annual PGA Tour stop at Torrey Pines.
Mickelson’s decision was certainly influenced by the tour’s more condensed schedule. Including this week, Mickelson will still play four out of six weeks, skipping Torrey Pines and the Genesis Open, which he didn’t list in his tweet. But one particular tournament he mentioned prompted a fun back-and-forth with Justin Thomas:
Mickelson, a three-time Farmers Insurance Open winner, also said after last year’s Ryder Cup that he would avoid tournaments with thick rough, something that traditionally tests players at Torrey Pines.
“And I’m 48. I’m not going to play tournaments with rough like that anymore, it’s a waste of my time,” Mickelson said at the Safeway Classic after his poor showing for Team USA in Paris. “I’m going to play courses that are playable and that I can play aggressive, attacking, make a lot of birdies, style of golf I like to play.”
Courses like La Quinta Country Club, where Mickelson fired that 12-under-par 60 on Thursday.
Despite Mickelson’s absence, the Farmers Open Field will be stout. Among those committed to play next week are World No. 1 Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau, and seven-time champ Tiger Woods, who will be making his 2019 debut.