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Phil Mickelson not ready to join European Tour

World number two Phil Mickelson said Tuesday he was not yet ready to join the European Tour but expected he eventually would as he reshaped his career with a focus on more international tournaments.

The 38-year-old American created headlines last week when he revealed he was looking to Europe to expand his golfing horizons, as he branded the US golf industry "stagnant".

However, after arriving in Shanghai to play the five-million-dollar HSBC Champions tournament, Mickelson said he was not yet prepared to guarantee playing the 12 tournaments on the European Tour that membership required.

"I'm not quite ready to commit to it. When I commit to the European Tour, I expect to play not just the minimum, but to really be a part of the Tour," the three-time Major winner told reporters.

However he insisted the European Tour remained part of his ambitions in the not-too-distant future, as he lavished praise on the direction the continent's golf chiefs were taking the sport with its lucrative "Race to Dubai" concept.

"I think the European Tour has made great strides. I think that's where the game is growing and is heading," he said.

The European Tour's 2009 season, which begins with the HSBC Champions, ends with the Dubai World Championship tournament, where 20 million dollars will be at stake in what is being billed as golf's richest event.

Mickelson said he wanted to eventually increase the number of tournaments he played outside the United States.

"I want to experience different cultures, I want my family to experience different cultures," he said.

"But I also want to take advantage of the global opportunities that are there for a professional golfer. It seems as though wealth is being created on an international basis and golf is growing internationally.

"I'd like to help with the growth as well as partake in its success."

Mickelson is the defending champion at the HSBC Champions, which is co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour.

 

November 5, 2008




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