Just three days prior to the beginning of the WGC-Cadillac Match Play opening round, Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the tournament due to personal reasons.
“I’m really happy with the new format and TPC Harding Park is a terrific setting for match play,” Mickelson said in a statement, “so it’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to play this year.”
Mickelson hasn’t competed in the Match Play event each of the last three years and four of the last five, though with a new date on the PGA Tour calendar, new format and new location, he had previously committed to the field and had publicly stated his excitement toward it.
Despite a disappointing beginning to the season, it appeared the five-time major champion had turned a corner recently, finishing in a share of second place at the Masters two weeks ago.
No information was available on whether Mickelson would compete in next week’s Players Championship, which he won in 2007.
Mickelson’s spot in the Match Play field will be filled by Mikko Ilonen.
The tournament begins this Wednesday, featuring 16 groups each playing three round-robin matches during the first three days, with one player from each group advancing to the knockout stage.