Phil Mickelson said he's considering skipping the Vivint Houston Open next month over his concerns about spectators being allowed on the course.
Tournament officials announced last week that as many as 2,000 spectators will be permitted, making it the first PGA Tour event to allow fans since the coronavirus pandemic brought golf to a halt in mid-March.
The Houston event is scheduled for Nov. 5-8, with the Masters to follow the next week.
"I think that they will do a very good, safe job in having 2,000 people at the Houston Open," Mickelson said Wednesday at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where he is playing in this week's Zozo Championship. "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."
Still, Mickelson, 50, said he has been staying away from anything he thinks could put him at risk of contracting COVID-19. PGA Tour players haven't been shielded from the virus, with Adam Scott and World No. 1 Dustin Johnson out of the Zozo Championship after positive tests.
In all, 15 PGA golfers have tested positive.
"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," Mickelson said of the Houston tournament. "I don't go out to dinner, I don't go out and socialize because I want to make sure that I have an opportunity to compete in the Masters."
Spectators, tournament officials and volunteers in Houston all will be required to wear masks.
If he doesn't play in Houston, Mickelson could use the Champions event in Phoenix that week as his final Masters tuneup, provided no spectators are allowed. Eligible to play on the tour now that he's 50, Mickelson has won both tournaments he's entered.
Mickelson has three Masters championships among his five major victories in his illustrious career. His best finish of 2020 came in August at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, where he finished in second place, but he also missed the cut seven times.
--Field Level Media