Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk renew the Cologuard Classic rivalry in Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. – They fought multiple times in college and each one helped their team win an NCAA championship. You are in second and third place on the PGA Tour’s money list. Both won their first two events at the PGA Tour Champions.

And this week they’ll be banning the horns again at Tucson National for the Cologuard Classic.

Phil Mickelson, from Arizona, and Jim Furyk, who played in Arizona, will be playing the event for the first time, as both are eligible after their 50th birthday last year.

Mickelson will have a chance at history: no golfer has ever won his first three starts on a tour approved by the PGA Tour. For Furyk, returning to college is a trip back in time.

“My first top 10 on the PGA Tour, it was my second event as a rookie. … Played a solid 1 under on Sunday and finished seventh. Right there at Tucson National it was a good, confident boost. It’s a place I’ve played a lot and practiced in college and as a young professional. It’s a golf course I haven’t played in probably over 10 years, but it’s a place I know very well and which is very close to my heart, ”said Furyk. “It’s a good place for me and brings back great memories.”

Tucson has great memories for Mickelson too. On January 13, 1991 Mickelson won the Northern Telecom Open as an amateur. He remains the last amateur to win a PGA Tour event.

Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson on the first hole of the second round of the WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play at the Austin Country Club. (Photo: Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports)

“I can’t believe it was 30 years ago, it just passed,” he said on the track on Thursday after his Pro-Am. “It brings back a lot of those memories. And Steve Loy and I have been spending some time the past few days – he’s been out for me this week, he’s been my college golf coach – talking about all the great things that are sure to be here this week and all week happened and this victory and how much fun we had. It’s a very special place for me. “

College wasn’t the first time these two met on the golf course.

“I remember playing golf with Jim at junior and one memory that struck me was that it was raining and he had those white cotton gloves and had no problem grabbing the club. I thought, wow, I’ve never seen that before, “Mickelson said. “It’s such little things that we sort of pull off. Jim is one of the best guys on the PGA Tour and I am very grateful for our friendship over the years. “

Furyk prepared well for the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational last week. He opened with a 69 and closed after the cut with a 69 to finish T-26 in a stacked field that featured eight of the top 10 players on the official world golf rankings.

While he can still make tour cuts, Furyk knows his future, and frankly, most of his present is on the senior track.

“I play a few on the PGA Tour but I consider my home tour to be the Champions Tour,” he said, noting that the competition is real.

“The competition is strong,” he said. “People think that on the Champions Tour you play your 18 holes and then go into the locker room and sit around and have a glass of wine or beer and tell stories. … I tell you, the driving range is full of guys practicing. The chipping and putting is full of guys practicing. The guys are still competitive and they are still hungry and that’s what we all enjoy. We enjoy the competition and maybe I don’t have to reach 320 yards for that. I enjoy it.”

Mickelson admits he’s just not ready to make the Champions Tour his full-time tour.

“I didn’t watch the champions events. I will play the players and Honda and most likely Valero and Masters, ”he said. “I’ll wait to commit (Valero) because there are a few things that could change, but that’s my kind of schedule through the Masters. And I really haven’t looked much beyond that and I haven’t really looked at the Champions Tour schedule.

“I want to play on the regular tour with a little less stress. I’ve been very hard on myself when I make mistakes and I need to relax a little and play a little more freely and a little easier. If I can do that, I can get some pretty good results out there. “

Two days ago, Lefty posted the three copper helmets he won for participating in these three tour events on Twitter. The Tucson Conquistadors, who run the event and previously held the PGA Tour Stop here, continued the helmet tradition at the Cologuard Classic.

Throw something specific into the universe 😏. I look forward to playing in Tucson this week, 30 years after it all started!

– Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) Feb 23, 2021

Mickelson says he wants to add another to his collection.

“I have three of them who want a fourth, they want a nice even number. You want a foursome. They don’t like going out as a three, they are always looking for a fourth so that would be a good fit. “

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