Phil Mickelson, who hinted after last month’s Tour Championship that he might trim his schedule going forward, will end his 2013 PGA Tour season (or kick off the 2013-14 campaign, depending on how you view it) with back-to-back tournaments in Asia starting Thursday at the CIMB Classic.
The world’s third-ranked golfer, whose right-handed flinging of the pigskin may attract calls from any number of NFL GMs scrambling to replace injured or just plain dreadful signal-callers, is slated to make his first start in Malaysia when he tees it up at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. Two of his Presidents Cup teammates, Keegan Bradley and Bill Haas, will join Mickelson at the same track on which Lexi Thompson posted her second LPGA Tour win a week and a half ago.
Mickelson is the star attraction of the limited-field event that will also feature Ernie Els, Bubba Watson and defending champion Nick Watney in the first-ever tilt in Asia to offer FedExCup points. Following his turn at the CIMB, the popular southpaw will travel to China for the WGC-HSBC Champions competition from Oct. 31-Nov. 3, and then return home to San Diego to lend his star presence to a charity golf tourney.
"I had some great highs and I had some lows. I don't play my highest level every single week. I have kind of ups and downs, and I'm a very emotional player," Mickelson, who finished T12 at East Lake, told reporters about his potential plans to follow Steve Stricker into semi-retirement to boost his energy down the stretch of a long season. "I think that I'm going to have to factor that into some of my scheduling and maybe cut out 25 percent of my events in an effort to play at a high level when I do play because I know that I'm not able to do it 25 weeks a year. Maybe I can do it 18 or 20, though."
A quick glance at Lefty’s calendar over the past five years shows that the 43-year-old has played in an average of 21 tour games in each (not counting the two upcoming contests), so shedding a quarter of his appearances would equal some 15-16 tourneys in the season that's already under way. The charity tourney Mickelson has committed to, according to Tod Leonard, will benefit Freedom to Live, a foundation that helps spinal-cord injury victims live independently.