Phil Mickelson, a two-time Colonial tournament champion, returned Monday to the Fort Worth course he criticized in May when Mickelson said recent course tweaks left him unsure about his future as a competitor in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Michael Tothe, Colonial tournament director, said Tuesday he had pleasant exchanges with Mickelson but discussed “nothing tournament related” during the golfer’s time at the course for a photo/commercial shoot for Callaway Golf, Mickelson’s equipment manufacturer. Tothe said he considered the timing inappropriate to discuss tournament business because Callaway brought five golfers to Fort Worth, including Mickelson, for the shoot.
“I didn’t even want to bring it up. I wanted to welcome him to the club as a past champion,” Tothe said. “I wanted to be respectful (of his sponsor-related commitment). He was very nice.”
But it remains unclear if Monday’s session will soften Mickelson’s stance from May, when he said he was “not sure” if he would return to Colonial because of tweaks made to the layout after his most recent title in 2008. At the time, Mickelson said Colonial “doesn’t really suit my game any more” and expressed concerns about the placement of fairway bunkers that, in Mickelson’s estimation, minimize his advantage as a long hitter.
Mickelson, a four-time major champion, won Colonial titles in 2000 and 2008. Tothe said Mickelson was joined at the photo shoot by PGA Tour competitors Gary Woodland and Fredrik Jacobson, as well as Web.com Tour players Luke List and Adam Hadwin.
In addition, Tothe said he plans to be at Sunday’s final round of the Web.com Tour Championship at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney to award a sponsor’s exemption in the 2013 Colonial to the golfer who finishes as the tour’s season money winner. The top five players heading into this week’s event include Casey Wittenberg ($407,453), Luke Guthrie ($384,593), Russell Henley ($365,366), List ($345,539) and Shawn Stefani ($303,311).