La Quinta, CA (Jan. 23, 2017) – Eighty-three days after hitting his last competitive shot, and six days after hitting his first practice shot since mid-October, Phil Mickelson resumed his 2016-17 season at the CareerBuilder Challenge. More than that, the two-time winner of the event and World Golf Hall of Fame member was serving as the Tournament Ambassador.
He and caddy Jim “Bones” Mackay started the 2016-17 season with an eighth-place finish at the Safeway Open in Napa, CA, on Oct. 16. Three days later Phil underwent sports hernia surgery in San Diego and Bones had both knees replaced in Scottsdale, AZ. On Dec. 12, Phil endured a second procedure on his sports hernia.
Given what led up to it, their performance was remarkable. Phil birdied his first hole Thursday and never again was over par for the tournament. He made only eight bogeys and one double. Four times he immediately covered a bogey with a birdie, and after he doubled 18 Saturday on the Stadium course he started the final round with three straight birdies. He finished in a tie for 21st place.
“It was a really good week,” Phil said Sunday not long before rain could have washed out the finish. “I really enjoyed being the ambassador of the CareerBuilder Challenge and all the sponsors that came in. More than that, I felt my game was much further along than I thought it was going to be. I hit a lot of good shots, still some poor ones, but a lot of good ones. As the week wore on I started to drive it a little bit better and I’m optimistic that my game will continue to improve.”
By the end of the week, both player and caddy were looking ahead to a little recovery time, but they didn’t get much of that. Phil’s flying start to the year continues this week at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, followed by the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, CA.