Phil Mickelson said he will “re-evaluate things” if he doesn’t get off to a solid start to his 2021 PGA Tour season.
That effort begins Thursday at The American Express in La Quinta, Calif., where Mickelson is serving as the tournament host for the second consecutive year.
“If I don’t play well early on (in 2021), I’ll start to re-evaluate things and maybe play a few more events on the Champions Tour,” he said Wednesday, “because what’s fun for me is competing, getting in contention and trying to win tournaments.”
The dual duty at The American Express didn’t work out well last year with Mickelson missing the cut by six shots. That was the beginning of a very difficult 2020 that saw him miss eight of 18 cuts on the PGA Tour while posting only three top-10 results.
He failed to be competitive at any of the three majors last year and finished 2020 rated 66th in the official world golf rankings. However, he did win his only two starts on the Champions Tour after turning 50 over the summer.
That did not translate into success on the PGA Tour, where Mickelson failed to finish better than a tie for 44th in his final seven events of 2020.
His last event was a tie for 55th at The Masters more than two months ago, and Mickelson said he spent the time since working hard on his game.
“I’ve actually had a good offseason where I haven’t had as much time off as I normally would take because it’s been so much shorter,” he said. “I feel like I’ve made a few good strides and I’m excited to start the year and see if I’m able to continue playing at the highest level.
“If I am, I’m going to really try to play more events on the PGA Tour and make a push hopefully for the Ryder Cup.”
Mickelson is currently 38th in the United States Ryder Cup standings, so he will need to start the year strong to get on the radar of captain Steve Stricker for a potential captain’s pick.
“I’ve made some strides in my game,” Mickelson said. “I’m excited to start the year and see if I can play at the highest level like I expect to.”
Mickelson said the desire to compete against the best in the world is what drives him to hit the gym and the range on a daily basis. At the same time, he admitted to the “fun” aspect of the Champions Tour, where the course setups are easier and he can compete against long-time friends while playing far more aggressively.
“My love of the game of golf is extremely high and my desire to compete and play against the best players is high, and so I find myself just internally motivated because of my love to compete and my love to try to bring out the best in me,” he said. “I’m trying to find the right balance.”
–Field Level Media