Phil Mickelson withdrew from the BMW Championship Tuesday, despite leading the FedEx Cup standings. FedEx Cup leader Phil Mickelson withdraws from BMW Championship at Cog Hill

One day after besting Tiger Woods and taking the lead in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup point standings with his victory in the Deutsche Bank Championship, Phil Mickelson announced today that he has withdrawn from this week's BMW Championship at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Lemont, Ill.

Mickelson's decision came as no surprise, as he hinted in post-round interviews Monday that his status was up in the air for the third event in the PGA Tour's playoffs. The world No. 3-ranked player intimated that family considerations might be a factor for him after playing four events in the past 30 days, including the past two weeks.

"This decision was not an easy one to make, and in no way is meant as disrespectful to the Tour or 'sending a message' to anyone," Mickelson said in a statement on his official Web site. "I've talked for weeks about needing to find a balance between my game, my business affairs and my family and now is the time for me to take some time off."

The "anyone" Mickelson referred to is most likely PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. Mickelson mentioned during his post-round TV interview with NBC that he was "really torn" about whether or not to play at Cog Hill because he felt obligated to play.

"I'd be paired with Tiger again. I think it would be really great for the game and the tour and the FedEx Cup," Mickelson told NBC's Jimmy Roberts. "Another part of me is really frustrated because for the past year, I've been asking the commissioner to do a couple of things, and I told him I would play the last four events, and he has not done that."

A lack of past success could've been another factor for Mickelson. He's never produced a top-25 finish in 10 previous events at Cog Hill.

Mickelson leads the chase for the FedEx Cup and its $10 million deferred top prize with 108,613 points. Steve Stricker is second (106,200), while Woods is third (103,733), K.J. Choi is fourth (102,900) and Rory Sabbatini is fifth (102,388). The four players behind Mickelson in the standings are the only ones who can possibly overtake Mickelson this week.

Mickelson said he plans to return for the final playoff event.

"I'm really looking forward to returning to the Tour Championship next week in Atlanta with the momentum I've been building and, hopefully, winning the first FedEx Cup," said Mickelson.

'Major' atmosphere in playoffs?

While the FedEx Cup playoffs might not produce the same electric atmosphere as the four majors, Tiger Woods said the gallery's level of excitement seemed to be pretty high in last week's Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC of Boston.

"All year we've been talking about how it's been kind of dead this year with the excitement level," Woods told reporters. "D.C. (in the AT&T National) was pretty rowdy, here it's been pretty rowdy, so it's nice to see some atmosphere out there."

Due to a PGA playoff rule grouping players according to the FedEx Cup standings, Woods played the first two days of the tournament with Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh. Woods and Mickelson were also grouped together on Sunday as Mickelson pulled out a two-stroke win.

"I think it was fun for both of us," Woods said. "It was fun for the gallery. You know, it's good - probably great for the tournament. I think this is probably what Deutsche Bank really wanted for the event, and it worked out great."

No fatigue for Brandt Snedeker

While several complaints have been lodged by prominent PGA Tour players about the fact that playing in all the FedEx Cup playoffs requires them to play four weeks in a row, Tour rookie Brandt Snedeker said the schedule is of no concern to him.

"I don't have really anything keeping me at home right now," Snedeker said. "I have a girlfriend back in Nashville, but other than that I don't have any family obligations, I don't have kids I need to see off to school, and I don't have any of the pressures that most of the guys out here do have."

Instead, Snedeker said he's enjoying traveling to all the different cities and seeing several different golf courses.

"This will be my fifth tournament in a row, and hopefully next week will be six," Snedeker said. "I'd be so excited next week playing the Tour Championship that it's not going to be a big deal being fatigued at all.

"Six in a row is really not a big deal for me. I played 10, 11 in a row last year on the Nationwide Tour, so this is still not even anywhere near my fatigue zone yet, so we're doing all right."

Homecoming of sorts for Luke Donald

As a former All-American golfer at Northwestern, Luke Donald has developed into a bit of a fan favorite in the Chicago area.

Donald will be looking for all the support he can get this week in the BMW Championship as he enters the third of four PGA Tour playoff events ranked 28th in the FedEx Cup point standings.

"I always enjoy coming to Chicago, playing this event," Donald said. "It's a home event for me, I guess. I stay at home. I enjoy this golf course. It has a lot of added benefits. Obviously it's a big week for me. I need to step up and play well this week and assure my place for next week."

Only the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings will advance to the final playoff event, the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

September 5, 2007

Comments Leave a comment
  • Phil pulling out

    Patrick O'Leary wrote on: Sep 6, 2007

    All power to Phil who like Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and the other top golfers, are the chief executives of the game of More »

    Reply

      • RE: Phil pulling out

        Courtney Rudolph wrote on: Sep 9, 2007

        boo-hoo, poor guys playing golf 4 weeks in a row for a chance to win 10 mil., these guys are not CEOs, true, they are More »

        Reply

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