Mickelson Withdraws from Farmers Insurance Open

Phil Mickelson never could get his balky back feeling better so he withdrew hours after completing the second round of the $6.1 million PGA Tour event. The publicist for the tournament's three-time winner, T.R. Reinman, confirmed the news late Friday night, noting that Mickelson will be meeting with doctors in the next few days to determine the source of the problem.

The decision was difficult for Mickelson, who's not only enjoyed success in the event but grew up in the area and has plenty of local supporters. He was making his 24th straight start in the tournament this week.

"I have the entire year, I've got majors coming up, I've got other tournaments coming up and I don't want to get into bad habits,'' said Mickelson, who opened with a 69 on Torrey Pines' North course followed by a 73 Friday on South.

"My game is pretty sharp getting ready to start the year, and I could tell I'm making terrible swings out there relative to the way I've been swinging.

"I love this tournament and I want to play here. I love playing in San Diego, and this is a place where I grew up playing, so I really want to play. And part of me also says that I'm getting into bad habits, and if I hit it in this rough here, I've really got an issue because I've got to swing awfully hard to get it out and it jars it. So I'm a little torn right now on the best plan of action.''

Mickelson said he was feeling fine before the start of the tournament but that in the first round, he said the back "locked up'' and that "it's just tight and I just couldn't swing from the top." He added Thursday afternoon, "I just think I'm getting old . . . And if I overdo it, it's just prone to getting a little bit tight. It's just a muscular thing."

Mickelson is scheduled next week to go to the Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale and defend his title there. After that, he's slated to play at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He will be taking a break after Pebble Beach to spend time with his children, who will be on spring break.