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Phil Mickelson now faces a race against time to be fit for the first major of the year after he pulled out of the Valero Texas Open midway through his third round due to a muscle injury.
‘Lefty’ has endured a few setbacks of late with a back injury forcing him out of the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year, although the American insists that the latest problem has nothing to do with his previous complaint.
Whether that is good news remains to be seen but Mickelson has assured fans that his back is no longer giving him cause for concern and he just pulled a muscle on Saturday, forcing him to withdraw from the Texas Open on the second hole, his 11th of the day.
Mickelson remains hopeful that he can return to the course in time for the Shell Houston Open, which gets underway on April 3 – the week before the start of the Masters.
“My back’s feeling great, my body’s been feeling great,” Mickelson said. “I felt as good as I have all year. My speed is back, I was hitting the ball hard, driving it great. I pulled a muscle on my downswing trying to hit the ball hard on the (first hole — his 10th).
It just killed and it wouldn’t subside for 10 or 12 seconds.
“I’m going to go back to San Diego for a couple of days and have a doctor take a look at it but there’s really not much you can do for a pulled muscle. I hope I’ll be OK to play the (Shell Houston Open) but I just don’t know.”
The Masters organisers will be desperately hoping that the popular three-time winner will have fully recovered for the start of the tournament on April 10 as world number one Tiger Woods has already admitted back spasms have put his attendance in doubt.