NORTON, Mass. (AP) — Phil Mickelson always planned to be competing in the Midwest next week, just not in Missouri.
And not as a rookie on the PGA Tour Champions.
Mickelson faced elimination from the FedEx Cup postseason on Friday when he missed the cut at The Northern Trust. He started at No. 67 in the FedEx Cup, and he was all but assured of being outside the top 70 who advance to the BMW Championship next week south of Chicago.
Instead, Mickelson said he would make his debut on the 50-and-older circuit — Mickelson turned 50 in June — at the Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National. The 54-hole event starts Monday.
“I feel like I’ve been playing well at home,” Mickelson said after his 3-under 68. “I was excited to play. I want to play. That’ll give me a chance to play three competitive rounds.”
Mickelson was the only player to reach the BMW Championship — the penultimate playoff event — every year since the FedEx Cup began in 2007. This was his lowest starting position, and he didn’t help the cause by opening with a 74 on the TPC Boston on Thursday.
“I don’t know what to say about the season,” he said. “It’s been very up and down, a lot of missed cuts that is unusual for me. I haven’t won. I’m disappointed I’m not in the BMW. I feel like I’m playing well and yesterday was really a poor start to the tournament. I would have liked to have continued in the playoffs.”
But he’ll be playing enough going into the U.S. Open on Sept. 17-20, where he returns to Winged Foot and the scene of one of his biggest disappointments.
Mickelson had a one-shot lead on the 18th hole in the 2006 U.S. Open, only to try a 3-iron out of the left rough. It hit a tree and came back toward him. He put his next shot into the bunker and made double bogey to finish one shot behind Geoff Ogilvy. The U.S. Open remains the only major he hasn’t won.
Mickelson said he would visit Winged Foot in the next few weeks. He also said he would play the Safeway Open at Silverado Golf Resort in Napa, California, the week before the U.S. Open.
“Having two majors coming up with Winged Foot and the Masters (in November), it keeps the motivation high,” he said.