PGA Tour

Mickelson worries about risk of fans at last Masters tuneup

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson
Getty Images

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson said Wednesday he worries about the US PGA Tour allowing spectators at an event the week before the Masters and might skip it for a 50-and-over tournament.

The 50-year-old American left-hander, a three-time winner of the green jacket, expressed support for the tour's Covid-19 precautions.

But Mickelson worried about the extra risk of allowing a limited crowd of 2,000 people at the Houston Open only days before players are due to arrive at Augusta National.

"The PGA Tour has done an incredible job of getting the players to play and compete in a safe environment," Mickelson said. "I think they've done a phenomenal job of having us feel safe. I think they will do a very good, safe job in having 2,000 people at the Houston Open.

"However, for me personally, I don't like the risk of having that happen the week before the Masters.

"I just feel like the week before the Masters, that's a big tournament we have and I just don't want to have any risk heading in there. So it has made me question whether or not I'll play there."

Mickelson, who last weekend won his second title of the year on the 50-and-over Champions Tour, said he might skip Houston for a Champions event in Phoenix the same week as his final tuneup for the Masters, which tees off on November 12 after being postponed from April by the pandemic.

"If Phoenix does not have people, I'll probably go there, to be honest," Mickelson said. "If they're both going to have galleries, I'll probably go to the Houston Open."

Mickelson has already been taking extra precautions to avoid the virus before the Masters and dislikes a new variable debuting a week before a major championship.

"I have to give the tour a lot of credit and confidence in the way that they've handled the entire year and I'm sure they're going to do a great job at keeping the players safe in that (Houston) environment," Mickelson said.

"But because I haven't seen it before, because it's the first one out on the tour with some people, I'm unsure and I don't want to take any unnecessary risks.

"I don't go out to dinner. I don't go out and socialize because I want to make sure that I have an opportunity to compete in the Masters."

Even the possibility of a false positive test worries Mickelson.

"Everybody has been safe, so we've all made those precautions," he said. "But the false positive is the thing that scares me."

World number one Dustin Johnson tested positive last week at Las Vegas and 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott of Australia tested positive on Wednesday.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
Australia 3
Argentina 3
loading... Live
Pumas 22
Griquas 17
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
42% - 10271 votes
11% - 2785 votes
19% - 4641 votes
2% - 609 votes
1% - 232 votes
2% - 562 votes
5% - 1228 votes
8% - 2051 votes
3% - 825 votes
Water sports
1% - 218 votes
American sports
1% - 302 votes
3% - 791 votes