Phil Mickelson Withdraws from Farmers Insurance Open with Sore Back

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2014

Updates from Monday, Jan. 27

The Associated Press (via ESPN) has the latest on Phil Mickelson's sore back:

He says joints had locked up and specialist Tom Boers restored his mobility. Mickelson says he still has some inflammation that will take a week or two to subside. He plans to fly to Arizona on Wednesday with hopes of playing the Phoenix Open.

Mickelson says he would sit out this week if it were any other tournament. But the Arizona State alum considers Scottsdale a second home and he wants to play. He will have a light practice session, and if everything feels good, he'll consider playing.

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An encouraging start to 2014 took a turn for the worse for Phil Mickelson after he withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open due to back pain.

The PGA Tour confirmed the news a little after midnight on Saturday, Jan. 25:

After two rounds, Mickelson was in a tie for 32nd. At two-under, he was eight strokes behind leader Jordan Spieth, which perhaps played into his decision. If he had been near the top of the leaderboard, Mickelson might have been motivated to push through.

Some were likely surprised that Lefty was able to make it through the second round at all. He had made it public how much trouble his aching back was giving him on the course, per ESPN.com's Bob Harig:

Phil Mickelson reported through a spokesman Friday morning that he had received treatment on his aching back and would attempt to play the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open.

It was halfway through the first round that things started to turn for Mickelson. Per The New York Times' Karen Crouse, the pain started on the par-5 18th—Mickelson started on the back nine—after using a four-iron on his approach.

“That was the one that stung,” he told Crouse. “It locked up on my downswing, and I just flinched.”

Mickelson added, “That was where I was kind of thinking this might not be the thing to do.”

With his back being so much of an issue, Mickelson had no other choice but to withdraw. As much as he might have wanted to play in front of his hometown crowd, there was no reason to further aggravate an injury this early in the year.

If we're heading into the home stretch at Augusta, that's a different case, but there's plenty of tournaments to come.

Hopefully, with some rest, this doesn't become an ongoing issue for Lefty as the year goes on.

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