Mickelson readies for first Texas Open since '92

Phil Mickelson prepares Wednesday with caddie Bones MacKay during pro-am day for the PGA Tour's 2014 Valero Texas Open.

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3:05:27 PM ET. 09/02/2014




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SAN ANTONIO – Phil Mickelson’s final stroke of the day, a deft 8-footer for birdie, fell into the cup at 7:40 p.m. local time, though no one saw it. It was that dark at TPC San Antonio on Wednesday evening.

What could be heard, however, was the good cheer of a pro-am much enjoyed, even if it had taken some time and even if the cold, windy weather had made for difficult conditions. As Mickelson and his playing partners exchanged pleasantries at the 18th green, the thought occurred that the lefthander was barely 12 hours away from his Round 1 tee time in the Valero Texas Open.

Yet he did not rush from the course to get dinner and rest. Instead, Phil being Phil, he methodically and casually worked the autograph line, signing for a few dozen people and for upwards of 20 minutes.

Some of those in line weren’t even born the last time Mickelson played the Texas Open (1992). The lefthander acknowledged to local reporters that the area had changed dramatically since he last visited San Antonio.

The tournament for years had been played at the end of the season, when he played sparingly, and since moving into the part of the schedule before the Masters it just didn’t appeal to him as a place to tune up for the Masters. Even after touring the course in his pro-am, Mickelson said TPC San Antonio was “very windy and very tight and you can’t unleash the driver” as you prefer to do at Augusta National. Yet he was adamant that he’s here for a reason and is glad to be in attendance.

Mickelson pointed to his lack of competitive success thus far in 2014 and the Valero gives him the opportunity “to play some proper golf and build momentum into Augusta.”

Lefty will play this week in San Antonio, most likely visit Augusta for a few days after, then tee it up at the Shell Houston Open before heading to the Masters.

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