Is this Mickelson's last Tour start in '09?

NORTON, Mass. — Phil Mickelson made his 400th career Tour start Friday at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Where he makes his 401st is open to debate. Could it be next week’s BMW? The Tour Championship in three weeks?

Next season?

Late Friday afternoon, Mickelson officially committed to the BMW Championship at Cog Hill in Chicago. However, T.R. Reinman, a spokesman for Gaylord Sports, the firm that represents Mickelson, said whether or not Mickelson actually plays will be a “day to day” decision. Mickelson will stay in contact with his home base, where his wife, Amy, and his mom are waging battles with breast cancer. Following an opening 71, Mickelson explained the quick turnaround from the Deutsche Bank to the BMW (Monday finish in Boston, Wednesday pro-am commitment in Chicago) means he would likely not be able to get home to the West Coast in between.

Mickelson is 10th in FedEx points entering this week’s play. His tie for 65th has him projected to fall to 16th, and should he play poorly Saturday and miss the cut, he can fall much farther (the lowest being 27th). If, say, he dropped into the 20s and then did not play in Chicago, he very likely could exit the top 30 and not be eligible to play in the Tour Championship at East Lake. A missed cut at Deutsche Bank might give him a few days at home before reporting to Chicago for Round 3 of the playoffs.

As for Mickelson’s “historic” (read: 400th) start here outside Boston, consider these numbers through 399 career Tour events: 36 victories, 79 top 3’s, and 329 cuts made. Oh, and $54.4 million in career earnings.

Nice.

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