Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson has confirmed that he will join Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose in the field for the 2014 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship
The 43-year-old American, who recently revealed he will be cutting back on tournament commitments in 2014 in a bid to focus on completing the career grand slam US Open win, was keen to fix Abu Dhabi into his early-season schedule.
“To play Abu Dhabi in the early part of the year is a great opportunity,” said Phil Mickelson. “I’ve wanted to return since my first time there in 2011. The golf course and facilities at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club are outstanding and the quality of the field and the good weather make it a great place to start my 2014 season.”
“To win in Abu Dhabi would be wonderful although I know it will be tough." - Phil Mickelson
After consecutive wins this year at the Scottish Open in Inverness and the Open Championship at Muirfield, Mickelson could well be in contention to become the first American to win in Abu Dhabi since his 2004 Ryder Cup teammate Chris DiMarco lifted the inaugural title in 2006.
“To win in Abu Dhabi would be wonderful although I know it will be tough,” he added. “The course can be very challenging but I’m playing some of the best golf of my career and feeling confident about my performance.”
Phil Mickelson played in the 2011 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship with his entire family present to support. However, despite high hopes for his play on the straight-hitting National Course, he could finish no better than 37th.
He added: “Abu Dhabi was a great way to kick off my season back then because it opened my eyes up to new cultures and traditions - an experience that my whole family found rewarding. Next year’s tournament is strictly about the golf for me although my family is looking forward to visiting that fascinating part of the world again, too.”
Phil Mickelson: Major force
If Phil Mickelson can win the US Open before his career his out – his next opportunity is at Pinehurst in June 2014 – he will become only the sixth player ever to complete the career grand slam, following in the footsteps of Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.