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Phil: "I like playing in a tournament that's similar to what we'll be playing"

It will be interesting to see what the players at the Valero Texas Open have to say about it as a pre-Masters venue this year due to a scheduling quirk that has put the Shell Houston Open--and its Augustaeque setup--next week on the schedule.

Phil Mickelson explained why he's not playing at the Valero, home to the reviled TPC San Antonio, even though it's not his preference. Bob Harig reports:

"For me personally, I like playing in a tournament that's similar to what we'll be playing," Mickelson said. "For a long time, we had a pretty good tournament before the U.S. Open. I don't remember what it was [Westchester] but now it's Memphis. It's so hot, I run out of energy and going to the Open, I'm drained so I don't play there anymore.

"This year, having a windy, tight course [in San Antonio] really isn't conducive to getting ready for Augusta. That makes it difficult for me personally so I'll end up going to Augusta a few days early and what have you. I've got to make some adjustments, just because the tournaments before the majors are not helping us at all get ready."

Mickelson is a man of his word, added the Scottish Open last year to his schedule. And with a return to Castle Stuart this year along with an NBC weekend telecast, chances are decent he'll do the same.

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Reader Comments (13)

I understand this situation (the silly schedule of going from Houston to San Antonio the week before the Masters) is due to a contractual deal with San Antonio surrounding their River Festival or something like that, but what is going to be unfortunate for them is that I think just about all of the top guys will be skipping San Antonio. Just not good prep to be beat down by that tough course. They need to stay on the East Coast, either in FL or somewhere in GA/SC.
03.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
You can't argue with his logic. Houston is a perfect pre-Masters setup just like Westchester was a perfect pre-US Open setup.
03.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris from DE
phil speaking the truth once again....wonder who's going to attempt to bash him at the first chance they get.
03.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBill
Bill, might it be Finchem doing the bashing? Are those fine worthy comments?
03.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
If I was a young pro (and I'm neither) not qualified for the Masters, I wouldn't be too sad about Phil's absence. Not so good for the tournament sponsors, but might make it easier for someone else to win for the first time.
03.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike T.
How about Phil's 73-79 missed cut this weekend? You never know what the hell is going on with this guy. He'll probably make one adjustment and win the Masters.
03.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris from DE
DTF - I think you may overestimate what is "fine-worthy" out here.
03.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Fritsch
Brad, none of us have even the most remote clue about what is findable and what isn't. I was kind of joking but on the flipside seems like Finchem is pretty touchy about anything that takes away from an event or casts it in a bad light.

Nice playing out there BTW. What are your thoughts on the Bay Hill course? If you decide to do any bass fishing let me know and I'll fill you in on locating the honey holes.
03.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
DTF - I guess you just have to look at it in context. Don't trash the golf courses or the events, and I don't think Phil was even close to doing so. I am looking forward to SA as I've heard it's really difficult and I feel like I play harder courses better.

Re. Bay Hill - love it. The fairways are narrow enough, the rough is fairly thick, and the greens are challenging but not to the point of being silly. It does a good job of challenging you off the tee if you want to hit a lot of drivers and three woods. Me, I choose to hit a lot of hybrids off the tee and trust my mid irons into the greens if necessary. So far so good.
03.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Fritsch
Awesome report. I'm a fan of the place too. We'll be pulling for you!
03.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Brad, I'm curious as to whether your strategy will change because of the rain. Good luck on the weekend.
03.22.2013 | Unregistered Commentermeefer
Great report, Brad.

Good chance I'll be able to make SA- will look you up and say hello. Give 'em hell!
03.23.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Good points by Phil. He's losing his FIGJAM moniker in my mind as the years go by.

I'll throw this out there FWIW. How about a pre-Masters tournament the week before right across the river in Aiken SC at the wonderful Palmetto CC? In college, I was lucky to be passing thru Aiken and saw some Masters participants working on their game a week or so before. Probably too short for a Tour event, but it would be neat to watch em play...and Brooks could even tee it up as the host clubpro...and I'm betting he wouldn't finish last.
03.23.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz

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