Mickelson tries to bring momentum from over-50 circuit to PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson is brimming with confidence as he transitions back to the PGA Tour this week to face “the young guys” at the Zozo Championship.

For Phil Mickelson, his Zozo Championship debut this week is all part of his preparation for the Masters. - AP

Phil Mickelson, fresh off his second consecutive victory on the senior circuit, is brimming with confidence as he transitions back to the PGA Tour this week to face “the young guys” at the Zozo Championship in Thousand Oaks, California.

Mickelson, 50, won his second PGA Tour Champions event on Sunday after winning his debut in August and is eager to compete among a loaded field at Sherwood Country Club where first-round action begins on Thursday.

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“I'm excited to compete and come off of last week's event on the Champions Tour and try to play, compete against the young guys,” Mickelson said on Wednesday. “This is a fun opportunity for me.”

Mickelson won the most recent of his 44 PGA Tour victories in February 2019 but is hoping his early success on the over-50 circuit will carry over to the regular tour.

'Fun'

“It's been fun for me to play over there. I seem to get a little bit of confidence and I'm hoping to bring that over into this event as well,” said Mickelson.

“But the penalty for a miss is much more severe on the regular tour, the pin placements are a little bit more difficult ... I have to be a little bit more precise.”

For Mickelson, his Zozo Championship debut this week is all part of his preparation for the Masters, which because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be played this year from November 12-15 as opposed to its usual spot in early April.

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Mickelson said cooler temperatures for the Masters will make the Augusta National layout play longer than usual and favour some of the game's big-hitters.

But Mickelson, a three-times Masters champion, has improved his putting since the year began and feels that could give him an edge on Augusta National's fast, undulating greens.

“I putted poorly starting the year and it's really come around,” said Mickelson. “I'm excited to get to that golf course putting the way I am, I think I can get in contention.”

Scott withdraws from Zozo Championship

Australian Adam Scott has withdrawn from the Zozo Championship after testing positive for COVID-19, the PGA Tour said on Wednesday.

Scott, the winner of 14 PGA Tour titles, last competed in September's US Open and was expected to be among the biggest names at the tournament, which was relocated to Thousand Oaks, California, due to the pandemic.

“While its difficult news to receive as I really looked forward to playing this week my focus now is on recovery for the final stretch of the fall,” said World No. 15 Scott, who won the Masters in 2013.

First alternate Jim Herman will replace Scott in the competition, the PGA Tour said.