Phoenix Open 2014: Phil Mickelson withdraws from Pro-Am, hopes to play Phoenix Open

When it comes to Phil Mickelson, the entire Phoenix Open is feeling his pain.

The fan favorite and defending champ was forced to withdraw from the PGA Tour event in San Diego last week with back pain. And, if not for his affinity for a tourney that he's won three times, Mickelson says this week would be no different.

"If it was any other tournament I'd skip it," Mickelson said. "But I'm defending, it's my second hometown and I love the event. I'll have a light practice session and if it goes well, I may try to play."

Already, Mickelson has flown to Georgia to see a back specialist about the pain in his lower back, which he first felt while in Abu Dhabi. 

"(The doctor) restored my mobility, but I still have inflammation that will take a week or two to subside," Mickelson said in a statement.

Mickelson made it clear that he did not to start getting into bad habits by compensating for the pain. He plans to fly to Arizona on Wednesday in order to test his back with the intention of playing.

"I'm itching to play," he said."But I have to look at the big picture. I have a number of tournaments I want to play and play well this year, including the majors, so I have to be realistic about how I feel in the short term."

Last year, the ASU graduate, who once lived in Scottsdale, nearly shot a 59 in the opening round at the TPC Scottsdale and went on to a wire-to-wire win.

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