Phil Mickelson Phil Mickelson to play in PGA's Byron Nelson Championship after missing pro-am

Phil Mickelson, scheduled to make his first start since announcing that Butch Harmon would be his swing coach, was unable to participate in the Wednesday pro-am at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship due to weather-related travel complications. Mickelson, however, will compete in the tournament, despite regulations stating a player must compete in the pro-am to compete in the tournament.

Under normal circumstances, a commitment by a player to enter a tournament is also a commitment to play in a related pro-am at the tournament course, according to PGA Tour regulations.

However, the PGA Tour can override this regulation if "extenuating circumstances" exist.

PGA Tour Regulations state that a commitment to enter a tournament is also a commitment to play in a related pro-am at the tournament course. The failure of a professional player to participate in a Pro-Am after a commitment by such player to do so shall cause him to become ineligible for the tournament. However, the Tour has discretion with this regulation with extenuating circumstances, and PGA Tour COO Henry Hughes announced that Mickelson would be allowed to play the tournament despite missing the pro-am.

"Phil did everything physically possible to get here Tuesday night but was grounded in Little Rock due to circumstances completely beyond his control," Hughes told reporters. Mickelson will tee off on Thursday is 10:40 a.m. at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Course.

Nelson winner gets a chopper

Aside from the other money and accolades that will come with taking home the EDS Byron Nelson Championship, this year the tournament winner will get something else - a custom motorcycle built by Orange County Choppers.

Paul Sr., Paul Jr. and Mikey Teutul of OCC - and stars of the television show, "American Chopper" - built three identical choppers for EDS and will be giving away a total of three custom-built choppers at the event. The winner will take one home - the first time a winner will receive a custom motorcycle - one will be donated to an online auction to benefit Salesmanship Club Youth and Family Centers, a children's charity associated with the tournament, while the third chopper will be kept by EDS and used to raise awareness of the tournament and the charity it supports.

"We asked the Teutuls to design a motorcycle that would generate attention for the tournament and honor the legacy of Byron Nelson," said Ron Rittenmeyer, president and chief operating officer of EDS. "We are thrilled with the end-product and anticipate the auction bike will raise a considerable amount of money for Salesmanship Club Youth and Family Centers."

April 26, 2007

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