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Phil Pulls out of Jack's Tournament
In a surprising development, Phil Mickelson withdrew from the Memorial Tournament Thursday after completing his first round of the $6.2 million event hosted by legend Jack Nicklaus. It was only the third time Mickelson has withdrawn from a PGA Tour event during his illustrious career.
Mickelson, who struggled to a 7-over 79 Thursday at the Nicklaus-designed Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, pulled out, citing mental fatigue. Lefty said after his round, "After I played three weeks in a row, I played Charlotte, the Players and the Nelson, I went straight to Europe to celebrate (his wife) Amy's 40th (birthday). I came back and had a Tuesday outing in Long Island, the pro-am, and I think mentally I'm a little bit fatigued."
Mickelson also said he was immediately shifting his focus to the U.S. Open in two weeks at Olympic Club in San Francisco. "I think I need - I've got to be more big-picture oriented and think about the Open and what's best to get my best golf out there, and I need the next few days to rest up a bit."
The move was surprising for the 40-year-old Mickelson, who two weeks ago was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. He attributed being tired to a tight schedule and a lot of tournaments in a row. "I knew he was struggling throughout the day," playing partner Rickie Fowler said. "You could tell he was a little tired. He's been traveling a bit lately. He told us there in the trailer when we were signing the cards. Obviously, it was a little bit of a grind out there today."
Fowler, Mickelson and Masters' champion Bubba Watson played together Thursday, and were scheduled - before Mickelson pulled out - to do it again Friday. Fowler said players were distracted throughout the first round by fans taking pictures. "You could see Phil was a little fatigued and was having trouble blocking it out a bit," Fowler noted of the extracurricular activities.
Bubba concurred, telling The Associated Press it's been "pretty bad ever since they made that rule" (allowing fans to take cell phones on the course). "When they make these marquee pairings, more people are going to follow them and more people want to take pictures, so it makes it very difficult. Ever since they made that rule that cell phones are allowed, it's just not fun playing.
"It took Phil out of his game," Watson concluded. "Phil's a great player and a great champion, and it just took him out of his game. It's sad. It's sad that cell phones can make or break a championship."