The commitment deadline looms Friday for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and Phil Mickelson, a two-time champion in Fort Worth, made it clear that he will not compete next week and is unclear about future stops at the tournament.
After a Wednesday pro-am round at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, Mickelson said the Colonial layout “doesn’t really suit my game any more” in the wake of recent course tweaks made after his most recent victory in 2008. Most of the concerns involve the placement of fairway bunkers that, in Mickelson’s estimation, minimize his advantage as a long hitter.
In terms of when he might return to the tournament, Mickelson said: “I’m not sure.”
Mickelson, who won Colonial titles in 2008 and 2000, said he has fond memories of his victories in Fort Worth as well as a 2009 “pink out” promotion arranged by tournament officials to draw attention to breast cancer awareness after Mickelson’s wife, Amy, was diagnosed with the disease. Mickelson withdrew from the 2009 tournament after Amy’s diagnosis. But he returned to Colonial in 2010, after the most recent round of course alterations were in place, and missed the cut.
“I will always be appreciative for what they did for me and Amy in ’09. It was like the most timely and generous gesture and something that I’ll always cherish,” Mickelson said. “And having won there, I really have a lot of fond memories and special feelings for Colonial. But the course doesn’t really suit my game any more, and I’m not sure what that means (about future appearances).”
Michael Tothe, Colonial tournament director, said the four-time major champion would be welcomed “with open arms” any time he chooses to return to Fort Worth.
“The (Forth Worth) community really supported the family during a tough time,” Tothe said. “We will always be there for Phil.”
_ Jimmy Burch