Four-time major champ Mickelson withdraws
DUBLIN, Ohio – Phil Mickelson hit the wall and then headed for the exit, withdrawing from the Memorial after a 79 on Thursday because of mental fatigue.
Mickelson said it was more important for him to be rested for the U.S. Open in two weeks than to finish Jack Nicklaus’ tournament. He attributed the fatigue to playing three straight weeks, and then going to Europe to celebrate his wife’s 40th birthday. He returned home to play a corporate outing Tuesday in New York, flew to Ohio for the pro-am and found his head wasn’t in the game.
“The course here is in such great shape. It’s a beautiful way to get ready for the U.S. Open,” he said. “But I’m hitting it so poorly that … I have to look at what’s best for me to play in the U.S. Open, and I’m going to take the next few days to kind of rest up.”
It’s not unusual for players to withdraw after a high score – it was Mickelson’s worst in the 13 trips to the Memorial – and three other players withdrew Thursday. But it’s rare when the player is of Mickelson’s stature, a four-time major champion inducted this month into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Mickelson could not think of another time he withdrew without physical injury.
“I feel like it’s the responsibility of a player to see through your commitment and finish the tournament and so forth,” Mickelson said. “And I’m kind of overruling that just a touch, because I’m trying to think big picture on what’s the best way for me to get ready for the Open.”
The last time Mickelson withdrew was also at the Memorial in 2007, only then he had injured his wrist while practicing out of the rough at Oakmont for the U.S. Open, and he stopped after 11 holes.
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