Phil Mickelson likely wouldn't have been around for the weekend at the Memorial anyway, but after an opening-round 79 (his worst score since an 80 at the 2003 Chrysler Championship), he won't even be around for Friday's second round.
After playing his last seven holes in 7-over, he withdrew from the tournament citing mental fatigue. To say the last month-plus has been a whirlwind for Mickelson would be an understatement. Aside from playing his fourth tournament in five weeks, he took wife Amy to Europe for her 40th birthday on his off week, before heading back to play in a corporate outing on Tuesday in New York, and then flying to Ohio for Wednesday's pro-am.
It's understandable that Mickelson is probably tired from all his jet-setting. But here's the deal: When you blame part of your fatigue and poor play on a week spent in Europe, you're not going to get a lot of sympathy from the rest of the players on tour.
If anything, you're going to get criticized for waving the white flag and quitting after a bad round. I'm pretty sure if Mickelson had posted 66 on Thursday we wouldn't have heard a peep out of him. Maybe he would've mentioned the fatigue in passing, but I bet a WD never would have crossed his mind.
The funny thing is mental fatigue wasn't the only reason Mickelson gave for pulling out of the tournament. With the U.S. Open less than three weeks away, he claimed getting ready for the second major of the year was more important than fulfilling his obligations at the Memorial and playing the second round.
''I feel like it's the responsibility of a player to see through your commitment and finish the tournament and so forth,'' Mickelson said. "And I'm kind of overruling that just a touch, because I'm trying to think big picture on what's the best way for me to get ready for the Open."
If you read that quote again, Mickelson's basically saying that even though players should finish out their two rounds, his reason for skipping out is legitimate. It's strange, I didn't know he was the only golfer gearing up for the U.S. Open.
Look, I understand Mickelson is tired and running on fumes, but he needs to play by the same rules as every golfer on the PGA Tour. Plenty of guys have posted big numbers on Thursday only to show up on Friday and see through their commitment. It's part of being a professional golfer. It's a shame Mickelson felt he was above the rule.
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