Phil Mickelson, the reigning Masters champion, is using one of his two "sponsor outs" allowed under PGA Tour rules to bypass today's pro-am at the Shell Houston Open. But he still plans to compete in tomorrow's opening round at Redstone Golf Club.
PGA Tour rules permit a player to miss two pro-ams during a calendar year. Each absence must be replaced by a corporate outing at a later date to benefit the title sponsor. Word from the Mickelson camp is that Phil is practicing today at Augusta National Golf Club and will fly from Augusta, Ga. to Houston in time for Thursday's scheduled 12:40 p.m. tee time.
_ Jimmy Burch