CA: Mickelson happy to be back in Memphis, on course that’s ‘one of my favorites’
This week’s 59th FedEx St. Jude Classic may offer an opportunity for a group of 40-somethings to contend at a PGA Tour event normally won by those in their 20s and 30s.
A collection ranging from World Golf Hall of Famers Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, both 46, to two-time FESJC champion David Toms, 49, and 12-time PGA Tour winner Steve Stricker, also 49, has the background and experience to push atop the leaderboard.
Mickelson, Els, Toms and Stricker have combined to win 86 times on tour and Mickelson, who has threatened to win the FESJC at least twice in the past three years, is a candidate to claim his first Memphis title.
Mickelson, who tied for third last year, is enjoying a strong start to the season. He has had four top 5 finishes in 2016. He had only three top 10 finishes in 19 starts a year ago.
Mickelson challenged for the FESJC in 2013 with a closing-round 67. A year ago, he fired a final-round 65 to make a run at winner Fabian Gomez.
“I really like this tournament and this course,” Mickelson said. “I think it’s the most underrated golf course we play on tour. The beauty of this course is in its simplicity and how it really challenges you with precision, not necessarily with overwhelming length.
“The greens are small and you have to shape shots and you have to hit it in the proper position here or you’ll get blocked out by trees. TPC Southwind is one of my favorites. I look forward to coming back every year.”
Mickelson has 42 career tour wins, but none in nearly three years. He finished second in February’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and fourth at last month’s Wells Fargo Championship.