Phil Mickelson’s 2013-14 PGA Tour season ended rather abruptly on Saturday morning as the five-time major winner withdrew from the BMW Championship.
Mickelson cited his desire to rest in preparation for the Ryder Cup in three weeks. It also didn’t help that Mickelson was 14 shots behind 36-hole leader Sergio Garcia, leaving Mickelson unlikely to finish the week at Cherry Hills inside the top 30 in FedEx Cup points and a spot in next week’s Tour Championship in Atlanta. It will be the first time since the FedEx Cup was introduced in 2007 that Mickelson has missed the final stage of the playoffs.
It’s hard not to wonder, however, if Mickelson took his distant position from the lead as an opportunity to make another point about the PGA Tour’s playoff scheduling. This year’s playoffs unfold over four weeks, almost forcing top-tier players to play six tournaments in seven weeks, including the WGC-Bridgestone Championship, PGA Championship and the four playoff events. The lack of a break has been a sore subject for players, with several voicing their displeasure with the gauntlet — even if it’s for some $80 million in prize money.
This wouldn’t be the first time Mickelson has made a point about playoff scheduling, although this one would be more subtle. After Mickelson won the 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship, Mickelson chastised PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem for not offering an off week for players to rest during the long closing stretch.
In a post-victory interview live on NBC, Mickelson said, “My frustration from this past year came from asking for a couple of things in the FedEx Cup that weren’t done and not really feeling all that bad now if I happen to miss.”
Mickelson then withdrew from the BMW Championship the next week. He would have skipped the Deutsche Bank Championship this year, he admitted, were he in a better position to advance through the playoffs.