Phil Mickelson’s decision to withdraw from the BMW Championship before the third round brought a premature end to his first winless PGA Tour season since 2003.
Mickelson was tied for 63rd after two rounds at Cherry Hills and had virtually no chance of advancing to the Tour Championship next week in Atlanta when he decided to head home to San Diego.
“My primary goal is to rest and prepare for the Ryder Cup,” Mickelson said. “Without a chance to contend for the Tour Championship, the most important thing for me now is to prepare for the Ryder Cup.”
Mickelson had talked about his excitement in returning to Cherry Hills where he won the 1990 U.S. Amateur but his game was flat again. He shot 70-76 and looked disinterested on Friday afternoon.
In three FedEx Cup playoff events, Mickelson finished 78th at the Barclays, tied for 45th at the Deutsche Bank Championship and withdrew at the BMW Championship. His only top-10 finish this season was second-place at the PGA Championship last month.
This season, Mickelson missed three cuts and had three withdrawals. If you’re looking for omens, the last time Mickelson failed to win a PGA Tour event in a season, he also went 0-5 in the Presidents Cup.
Mickelson has been critical in the past of the Tour scheduling four playoff events without a break, a necessity created by the Ryder Cup this year. If he was trying to make a point with his withdrawal, it probably had little effect.
More likely, Mickelson is tired of fighting his disobedient game and decided there was more to be gained by taking a break than grinding through the final two rounds.