Golf

Published: Thursday January 30, 2014 MYT 8:57:02 AM
Updated: Thursday January 30, 2014 MYT 8:57:24 AM

Mickelson to shake off back pain, defend Phoenix Open title

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. reacts after missing an eagle putt on the fourth hole during the final round of the 2013 U.S. Open golf championship at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, June 16, 2013. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. reacts after missing an eagle putt on the fourth hole during the final round of the 2013 U.S. Open golf championship at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, June 16, 2013. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan

(Reuters) - Phil Mickelson, who was recently diagnosed with locked facet joints in his lower back, said on Wednesday he will defend his title at this week's Phoenix Open.

The five-times major champion had been in doubt with a back injury that prompted him to withdraw from last week's PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines in Southern California after two rounds.

"I had a good practice session, though I didn't go full speed for much of it. I feel fine. I expect to play and play well," Mickelson said in a statement ahead of the Jan 30-February 2 Phoenix Open.

Mickelson, who was diagnosed with and treated for locked facet joints in his lower back, says he also plays to play next week's Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

The 43-year-old Californian won last year's Phoenix Open at the TPC Scottsdale with a wire-to-wire victory that included an opening round 60.

(Reporting By Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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