Phil Mickelson would love to be competing the week prior to the Masters.
However, the three-time Augusta champion is cautious in entering the Shell Houston Open (Nov 5-8) given the fact tournament organisers have been given permission to allow 2,000 fans a day into the PGA Tour event.
The 73rd staging of the Houston Open will be the first PGA Tour event since the March 12th opening day of the Players Championship to allow the entry of spectators, who have to undergo testing ahead of entry and also have to wear masks at all times while on the host Memorial Park course.
Mickelson is also a past winner of the Houston Open in capturing the 2010 title, his 39th of now 44 PGA Tour wins.
“I think the PGA Tour’s done an incredible job, I mean an incredible job of getting the players to play and compete in a safe environment,” Mickelson said ahead of this week’s ZoZo Championship
“We’ve had a few people test positive. It has not spread from those people. They’ve kept everybody at a good social distance so if somebody does have it, it hasn’t affected and carried through the Tour.
“I think they’ve done a phenomenal job of having us feel safe.
“I think that they will do a very good, safe job in having 2,000 people at the Houston Open.
“However, for me personally, I don’t like the risk that having that happen the week before the Masters. I just feel like the week before the Masters, like that’s a big tournament we have and I just don’t want to have any risk heading in there.
“So it has made me question whether or not I’ll play there.
“But then I have to give the Tour a lot of credit and confidence in the way that they’ve handled the entire year and I’m sure they’re going to do a great job at keeping the players safe in that environment.
“But because I haven’t seen it before, because it’s the first one out on the Tour with some people, I’m unsure and I don’t want to take any unnecessary risks. I don’t go out to dinner, I don’t go out and socialise because I want to make sure that I have an opportunity to compete in the Masters.”
Instead, the back-to-back Champions Tour winner looks headed to Phoenix, Arizona for the over-50s, and ‘no spectators’, Charles Schwab Cup.
“So if Phoenix does not have spectators, I’ll probably go there, to be honest,” he said.
“If they’re both going to have galleries, I’ll probably go to the Houston Open.”
Miickelson will play the opening round of the ZoZo Championship in the company of Rory McIlroy and Webb Simpson teeing-up at 7.51pm this evening, Thursday (Irish time).