Jan
29
2014
Phil Mickelson health update: Well enough to make start at Phoenix Open
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour
Phil healthy enough to make title defense
After several days of doubt, Phil Mickelson has confirmed he will indeed be healthy enough to defend his title this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Mickelson saw Tom Dalton, a back specialist in Georgia, to examine the lower back pain he experienced last Friday at Torrey Pines, which caused him to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open. 

He was diagnosed with and treated for locked facet joints in his lower back.

On Wednesday afternoon he arrived in Scottsdale and headed straight to Whisper Rock Golf Club to prepare for the tournament.

Afterward, he said in a statement, “I had a good practice session, though I didn’t go full speed for much of it. I feel fine. I expect to play and play well.”

Mickelson, who is paired with Ryan Moore and Bill Haas, will tee off on no. 10 in the first round at 8:15am.

He added he expects to play next week in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Earlier in the week when his status was in flux, he said he would’ve withdrawn had it not been this particular event.

“If it were any other tournament I’d skip it,” said Mickelson in a statement on Monday. “But I’m defending, it’s my second hometown and I love the event. I’ll have a light practice session and if it goes well, I may try to play.”

Hopefully, he continues to feel well enough to compete through the entire week. It’d be a shame if he teed off and then tweaked his back mid-round and was forced to pull out of the event, especially since there’s a long list of healthy alternates itching for a spot in the field.

Ryo Ishikawa remains the first alternate and will arrive at TPC Scottsdale bright and early on Thursday in case a player withdraws at the last minute.