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Phil Mickelson may be headed to Europe

October 29, 2008 |  3:45 pm

Phil Mickelson, right, may join Sergio Garcia on the European tour. There was a time when golfers on the European PGA Tour did all they could to get to the PGA Tour in the U.S. Those days are changing.

Anthony Kim, the 23-year-old who has won twice on the U.S. tour this year and is No. 8 in the world, is joining the European tour next year. And Phil Mickelson today said he is leaning that way, adding that U.S. golf is "stagnant."

Part of the attraction is the increased prize money in Europe, with $20 million on the line in a season-ending Race to Dubai. Actually, money's a very big part. The year-end millions are available only to Euro tour members, who need to play at least 12 events to maintain their eligibility. Joining the tour overseas wouldn't mean leaving the U.S. tour though, because six U.S. events count as European tour events: the three major championships here and three World Golf Championship events.

Mickelson told Agence France-Presse: "Certainly the dollar weakening over the past few years has made foreign currencies much stronger, which makes the purses much larger, so there's been a lot of international wealth being created. The U.S. golf industry has been stagnant for quite some time, so all of our growth has been occurring on a global basis."

If Mickelson joins, nine of the top 10 players in the world will be members of the European tour. The only exception: Tiger Woods, who says his schedule won't allow the additional events necessary for membership. 

-- Mike James

Photo: Phil Mickelson, right, may join Sergio Garcia, left, on the European tour. Credit: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images