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Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Mickelson delays Euro Tour move

Phil Mickelson
Mickelson's win in Shanghai last year was his first tournament in Asia

World number two Phil Mickelson is not yet ready to join the European Tour but expects to do so in the future.

The 38-year-old American said he could not guarantee playing in the 12 tournaments required for membership.

"When I commit to the European Tour, I expect to play not just the minimum but to really be a part of it," he said.

But stars such as Anthony Kim have signed up for the season, which starts in Shanghai on Thursday and ends with the new $10m Dubai World Championship.

Starting this season, the European Tour will require members to play 12 events, up from 11, but the increased prize-money on offer in the inaugural 'Race to Dubai' has tempted several leading players from around the world to join up.

Mickelson's Ryder Cup team-mate Kim, who is ranked eighth in the world, and Colombia's Camilo Villegas, who is seventh, recently announced their intentions to play on the European Tour as well as the USPGA Tour.

It seems as though wealth is being created on an international basis and golf is growing internationally

Phil Mickelson
Australian stars Adam Scott and Robert Allenby as well as South Africa's Masters champion Trevor Immelman have also come back into the fold.

The four majors and three World Golf Championships - six of which are held in the United States - count toward the 12 events.

Mickelson said he would focus his attention on the USPGA Tour for the time being but wanted to increase the number of tournaments he played outside the United States.

"I want to experience different cultures, I want my family to experience different cultures," he said.

"But I also want to take advantage of the global opportunities that are there for a professional golfer.

"It seems as though wealth is being created on an international basis and golf is growing internationally. I'd like to help with the growth as well as partake in its success.

"I think the European Tour has made great strides."

Mickelson is the defending champion at this week's season-opening HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai, which brings together tournament winners and money-list leaders from across the world.

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, who finished second behind Robert Karlsson in the race for the Order of Merit, is also among the star-studded field in Shanghai.

Despite only finishing a lengthy season on Sunday, the Irishman is relishing the chance to contest the elite 60-man season-ending showdown in Dubai.

"As a professional it is all about winning majors, but to be the first person to win the new Order of Merit, the Race to Dubai, would be something special," said the world number five.

"It wouldn't be the same as a major, but it would be just behind it."

In addition to the $10m prize money, the top 15 players ranked by earnings will also share a bonus pool of an additional $10m.

Karlsson, Sergio Garcia, Immelman and Kim are also playing in China as the season gets off to a start on Thursday, just four days after the end of the 2007-2008 campaign.

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