Four-Time Winner Phil Mickelson to Skip Upcoming AT&T Pro-Am
January 15, 2014
Phil Mickelson’s pursuit of Mark O’Meara’s record five AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am titles is going to have to wait at least another year.
On Wednesday, the Monterey Herald reported that Mickelson will not play in the upcoming 2015 AT&T Pro-Am in order to spend more time with his family. It will be the first time Mickelson hasn’t played in the event since 1997.
A four-time winner of the AT&T Pro-Am (1998, 2005, 2007 and 2012), Mickelson is just a victory behind O’Meara’s record five AT&T Pro-Am titles. With his victory in 2012, which turned out to be a shellacking of Tiger Woods, Lefty also joined Johnny Miller as the only players to win the AT&T Pro-Am in three different decades. Miller won the AT&T Pro-Am in 1974, 1987 and 1994.
“Those are two of my favorite events, two of my favorite courses,” Mickelson said, “but with the kids in two schools with different spring breaks I’ll take that time off. They’ve accommodated my schedule enough over the years. It’s time for me to accommodate theirs.”
In catching O’Meara, Mickelson has previously stated that it is a goal he’d like to achieve. Following his fourth AT&T Pro-Am win in 2012, Mickelson declared that the target was in sights, telling attending media that “Mark’s a wonderful person and player, but I’m going to try and match his record.”
As for being just the second player to win the event at least four times, Mickelson, like O’Meara, has in part learned to embrace the Pro-Am format and what can at times be long rounds.
“Early in my career I didn’t do well at Pebble Beach,” he said. “As I got older, maybe I got more patience.”
Lefty also has a special connection with Pebble Beach. His grandfather, Al Santos, originally caddied at Del Monte Golf Course but moved to Pebble when the course opened in 1919. Whenever he now competes at Pebble, Mickelson uses a silver dollar that was his grandfather’s as a ball marker.
“When he (Santos) was young, he had to leave school in the fourth grade and go to work to help out his family,” Mickelson said. “He always felt poor, and there were many days he was unable to eat, but he had a silver dollar from 1900 that he’d rub and never spend. It’s just a cool feeling to have the money that he cherished and also to see what we are now playing for in prize money and how far the game of golf has come. It’s a great reminder for me.”
This year’s AT&T Pro-Am tees off February 9-15 at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill and the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club.