-- CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Phil Mickelson withdrew from the BMW Championship early Saturday morning, bringing an abrupt end to his worst PGA Tour season in more than 10 years.
Mickelson, 44, cited his poor position in the tournament and the Ryder Cup in three weeks as his reasons for skipping the final two rounds of the $8 million FedEx Cup playoff event.
He shot 76 on Friday at Cherry Hills Country Club to fall 14 strokes behind second-round leader Sergio Garcia at the third of four FedEx Cup playoff events. He was in need of a top-four finish here in order to earn enough points to advance to next week's Tour Championship in Atlanta.
"My primary goal is to rest and prepare for the Ryder Cup," Mickelson said in a statement released after midnight. "Without a chance to contend at the Tour Championship, the most important thing for me now is to prepare for the Ryder Cup."
Mickelson qualified for his 10th Ryder Cup appearance when he tied for second at the PGA Championship last month. It was his only top-10 finish this year on the PGA Tour (he tied for second at a European Tour event in Abu Dhabi in January), his first season without a victory since 2003.
That was the year before he captured the first of five major championships. His last victory came at the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield.
This is the first time since the FedEx Cup playoffs began in 2007 that Mickelson has failed to qualify for the Tour Championship, a tournament that brings together the top 30 players in points. He had never finished worse than 15th in the final standings.
But before the BMW began, Mickelson said he was not concerned about keeping the record intact.
"I'm not real high on playing four in a row," Mickelson said, referring to the fact that the PGA Tour had scheduled all four playoff events in consecutive weeks in order to have a week off prior to the Ryder Cup. "I'm just excited to be here. This is the one of the four I wanted to play."
Mickelson said he looked forward to his return to Cherry Hills, where he won the 1990 U.S. Amateur at age 20, a few months removed from his sophomore year at Arizona State.
But the lure of playing the course wasn't enough to keep Mickelson around for the weekend. He was in a tie for 63rd place in a field of just 68 players.