PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - Phil Mickelson, with a retooled golf swing he hopes will lead him to the Fountain of Youth, and fan favorites Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott have committed to play in the 2016 Honda Classic, a PGA TOUR event which will be contested February 22-28 at PGA National Resort & Spa.
Mickelson, Garcia, presently ranked 13th in the Official World Golf Ranking, and Scott, now at No. 15, join a field that is beginning to take shape with commitments from world No. 2 Rory McIlroy (2012 Honda Champion), No. 9 Patrick Reed, No. 11 Branden Grace, No. 16 Kevin Kisner, No. 17 Brooks Koepka and No. 19 Hideki Matsuyma.
Defending champion Padraig Harrington and 2015 runner-up Daniel Berger have also committed to the first full-field event of the Florida swing along with TOUR mainstays such as Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby (1997 Honda Champion), Angel Cabrera, Stewart Cink, Luke Donald (2006 Honda Champion), Jason Dufner, Retief Goosen, Davis Love III, Rory Sabbatini (2011 Honda Champion), Vijay Singh (1999 Honda Champion), Michael Thompson (2013 Honda Champion), Boo Weekley and Mark Wilson (2007 Honda Champion).
Mickelson overhauled his swing during the off-season under the guidance of new coach Andrew Getson. Then he finished third in his first start of the year at the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, CA and pronounced himself as good as he ever has been.
"There is nothing I can't do now that I could do when I was in my 30s," Mickelson told ESPN. "I'm in better shape than I was five years ago. I eat better. I work out better. I feel better. I wake up and feel better. In my case, I feel like age is just a number."
Mickelson turns 46 in June determined to join Jack Nicklaus and Julius Boros as the only players to win Major Championships past the age of 45. His stop at The Honda Classic is part of his preparation for The Masters in April.
"It's not an age thing," he said." It's not that I have anything left to prove. In fact, it's the opposite. It's that I want, know and believe that I can play at an extremely high level and it's frustrating to me when the last couple years I haven't played to the level I know I'm capable of. I've hit so many millions of golf balls over the years that there's never a shot I'll have to hit for the first time. All those shots I've hit in the past now should make it easier to play and perform at a higher level today."
Garcia recently turned 36 and is attacking 2016 with an urgency to capitalize on being in his prime, winning more tournaments and breaking through in a Major Championship after an amazing 20 finishes inside the Top 10 at Majors.
"My appetite is the same," Garcia said. "Obviously it's nice to see a lot of these young guys playing and playing well because that means the future of the game is in good hands. I love playing golf. I enjoy every minute of it and I try to push myself to become better every year, better and more consistent. That hasn't changed."
Scott is 35 now, a guy who has arrived after so many years with the label as one of golf's rising stars. He took his usual extended break at the end of 2015 and returned energized to also do a lot of winning in his mid-30's and surge higher in the rankings.
"It's more of a goal since being No. 1 than it was when I was getting close to it," Scott said. "Ask anyone who has been there. It's a good feeling. It's pretty clear what you have to do to get there and if I get there I will have achieved the things I am looking to achieve."
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