Mickelson keen to spread U.S. influence in Asia

Wed Nov 7, 2012 4:47am EST
 

By John O'Brien

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson is something of an American Ambassador when it comes to spreading the PGA Tour's influence in Asia and the left-hander is hopeful more events in the region can force their way onto the U.S. circuit.

Back in Asia for the Singapore Open after competing at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shenzhen last week, Mickelson has thrown his support behind moves to bring more American golfers to the region.

"I've been playing here for the past six years now and I plan to continue to play and having a presence in some of the top Asian tournaments," the four-times major winner told reporters at Sentosa on Wednesday.

The CIMB Classic in Malaysia and HSBC Champions events both announced this year that they would be added to the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup itinerary for the 2013-14 season and Mickelson is hoping the $6 million Singapore Open becomes another addition.

"I would certainly love it if that happens," the 42-year-old Mickelson said. "It's great that tournaments in Asia are part of the FedEx Cup... I'm hopeful that at some point, the U.S. Tour can maybe have three or five events over here."

Mickelson's support for a greater American presence in Asia was tempered slightly by compatriot and world number two Tiger Woods's decision to skip last week's tournament, a move his Ryder Cup team mate was quick to defend.

"We certainly want to help promote and drive the game throughout the world, but Tiger is just one person, and I think it's a little unrealistic for every tournament, sponsor, city and country to expect him to play every week," Mickelson said.

"I think that he does the best he can, as do the other professionals to promote the game in other parts of the world."   Continued...

 
Phil Mickelson of the U.S. smiles during a news conference ahead of the Barclays Singapore Open golf tournament in Singapore November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Edgar Su