Phil Mickelson in Tucson thirty years later

by   |  VIEW 1182

Phil Mickelson in Tucson thirty years later

Thirty years after he won his first PGA TOUR event as an amateur, Phil Mickelson is set to return to Tucson, Arizona, for next week’s Cologuard Classic, the second tournament of 2021 on PGA TOUR Champions. The 44-time PGA TOUR winner and five-time major champion headlines an 81-player field that includes 10 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame, 20 major champions and 57 players with 419 total wins on the PGA TOUR.

Phil Mickelson at Cologuard Classic No amateur has won on the PGA TOUR since Mickelson’s victory at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open, held at TPC Starr Pass and Omni Tucson National Resort (where Mickelson shot a second-round 71).

Tucson could be the setting of another historic achievement, as Mickelson has the chance to become the first player on any PGA TOUR-sanctioned tour to win his first three starts, following his victories at the Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National and Dominion Energy Charity Classic in 2020.

Mickelson competed collegiately at Arizona State University in Tempe, where he was a three-time NCAA National Champion and three-time winner of the Haskins Award, given annually to the most outstanding collegiate golfer. The field of challengers includes University of Arizona alum Jim Furyk, who also won his first two starts on PGA TOUR Champions last year (The Ally Challenge, PURE Insurance Championship).

In addition to Furyk and Mickelson, other players making their tournament debuts include 1997 PGA Championship winner Davis Love III, 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir, and 2011 PLAYERS Championship winner K.J. Choi. The 81-player field also represents the game’s best from international team competitions, as the Cologuard Classic will feature 27 players with 98 total Presidents Cup appearances, 24 players with 96 Ryder Cup appearances, and nine players who have served as a captain during either competition.

Each of the Cologuard Classic’s six past champions will compete for another Conquistador helmet trophy, including 2018 winner Steve Stricker and defending champion Bernhard Langer, who captured his 41st career title at the age of 62 last year in Tucson.

Langer, the first No. 1 player when the Official World Golf Ranking debuted in 1986, is one of five players in the field who held the No. 1 spot in the OWGR during their careers, as he’ll be joined by Tom Lehman, Ernie Els, Fred Couples and Vijay Singh.

Langer and Els currently hold the top two spots in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, with Kevin Sutherland, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Scott Parel rounding out the top five. The 2020-21 season on PGA TOUR Champions includes 40 total tournaments – 15 events from 2020 and 25 in 2021.

This year’s schedule opened with the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, where Darren Clarke won by two over Retief Goosen, and the Cologuard Classic is the second tournament of the year. Golf Channel will provide coverage of all three rounds, February 26-28, on Friday (8:30-10:30 p.m.

EST, tape delayed), Saturday (5-7 p.m. EST, live) and Sunday (4:30 p.m. EST, live).