Phil Mickelson announced Wednesday night that he will play this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Mickelson is dealing with a back injury that forced him out of last week's Farmers Insurance Open, but had said he would travel to Phoenix and do everything he could to be ready to go by Thursday.
Mickelson arrived in the area on Wednesday after seeing multiple back specialists and getting treatment all week. He reportedly teed it up for some light practice at nearby Whisper Rock, and then made it official that he would be ready by Thursday:
"I had a good practice session though I didn't go full speed for most of it. I feel fine. I expect to play and play well." -PM #GreenestShow— KPMG Mickelson (@MickelsonHat) January 29, 2014
Mickelson is also expected to play next week at the annual Crosby Clambake, or the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. That will be his fourth straight week in competition, and he's expected to throttle down after that.
Losing Mickelson would have been a big blow to this year's WM Phoenix Open, the rowdiest and most well-attended PGA Tour event of the season. He's an Arizona State alum, calls the area his second home, and is the defending champ. He was at the center of one of the year's most memorable days last season, when he lipped out on the 18th to just miss becoming the sixth player ever to shoot 59.
Ryan Moore and Bill Haas will be out with Mickelson in the first two rounds, beginning Thursday at 10:15 a.m. ET. Lefty told Tim Rosaforte that he's going to "take it easy," but his presence alone will add to one of the more fun events of the season. And given his track record here, taking it easy might be enough to be in the hunt come Sunday afternoon.