Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mickelson Joins Effort for Rebuilding New Orleans

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mickelson Joins Effort for Rebuilding New Orleans

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

Masters champion Phil Mickelson said he will leave whatever he earns in the foreseeable future at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans back in that area for hurricane relief and children's charities.

Mickelson and other PGA Tour stars say they are playing in that event this week at the English Turn Golf and Country Club with a subdued feeling of how much the area was devastated by Hurricane Katrina last year. The fact that the tournament had to move back to English Turn is a reminder in itself, since the TPC of Louisiana was rendered unplayable by the storm.

The tournament had moved to the TPC of Louisiana last year after 16 years at English Turn. But the course suffered damaged that still hasn't been completely repaired, including the loss of 400 trees.

Of greater concern is the damage done to the city of New Orleans, the rest of the Gulf Coast, and its people.

"It's going to take time, but it's going to get done," Mickelson said of relief efforts, during a teleconference Wednesday. "It's not something we're going to forget three or four years from now. It's going to take five or 10 years."

Mickelson said that will be the span of time he donates half his earnings in the Zurich Classic to the hurricane relief organization started by fellow PGA Tour players Hal Sutton, David Toms and Kelly Gibson. The other half will go to the Fore Kids Foundation, the primary charity of the Zurich Classic.

"What Hal, David and Kelly have done is great, because they've done more than donate money -- they given of themselves," Mickelson said.

TOUGH FOOTING

Mickelson played the Winged Foot Golf Club on Monday and Tuesday this week to begin his preparation for the U.S. Open there from June 15-18. Mickelson has won the last two major championships, the Masters earlier this month and the PGA last year.

Mickelson has played Winged Foot once in professional competition, at the 1997 PGA. He tied for 29th after entering the weekend only two shots off the lead. The course is around 500 yards longer now and Mickelson said the United States Golf Association will set the course up to play more difficult than the PGA of America. …

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