Mickelson returning to Bay Hill for first time since 2013

Phil Mickelson has committed to next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and will make his first appearance in Orlando since missing the cut in 2013.

Mickelson won at Bay Hill back in 1997 and was a runner-up to Tiger Woods in 2001, but he has been absent the last five years. His commitment further bolsters a field that now includes six of the top 10 and 13 of the top 20 players in the latest world rankings.

Among those joining Mickelson next week at Bay Hill will be Woods, world No. 1 Justin Rose, defending champion Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.

Mickelson’s commitment adds further speculation about his plans for the Players Championship in two weeks. The 48-year-old explained earlier this year that he planned to pare down his schedule to avoid courses with especially penal rough, and last month he skipped the Farmers Insurance Open for the first time in 29 years. He has not yet committed to TPC Sawgrass.

Mickelson won The Players in 2007, but he has missed the cut thereĀ five of the last six years. He explained earlier this month that he no longer considers it a tournament that is locked into his annual schedule.

“It’s not a must-play for me because I’m 48 and I’ve played it 25 times and I’ve already won it,” Mickelson said. “If I were young and early in my career, I would say yes because I think it’s as close to a major as it can get. But it’s not the best course for me.”

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