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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Phil Mickelson produced some headlines earlier this week when he suggested he might skip the Houston Open, an event he normally plays the week before the Masters, after officials announced plans to allow a limited number of fans on property for the first time domestically since the COVID-19 pandemic halted play in March.
“For me personally, I don’t like the risk that having that happen the week before the Masters,” Mickelson said Wednesday at the Zozo Championship. “I just feel like the week before the Masters, like that’s a big tournament we have and I just don’t want to have any risk heading in there.”
Three days later, Mickelson clarified his stance on Houston.
He told GolfChannel.com this on Saturday: “That’s not a deciding factor. I’m sure the Tour will do a great job of making it safe.”
Instead, Mickelson said he needs to decide which option is the best way for him to prepare for the Masters, the Houston Open or the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.
“Do I want to play against guys out here [on Tour] where the penalty for a miss and playing is more challenging? The course is going to be a little longer in Houston, but it’s not overseeded like it is in Augusta, and it could be windy, and I want to start hitting the ball high for Augusta,” Mickelson said. “Or, do I want to go to Phoenix, where there’s only three rounds and I don’t wear myself out, and if I get tired I can take a cart, and I’ve got overseeded grass just like we have at Augusta, but it’s a little shorter course and I’m not playing against the guys I’ll be playing against at the Masters.”
Mickelson, who has won both of his starts on the PGA Tour Champions this year, said he will definitely play one of the two events that week. He plans to make a final decision on his schedule next week.