Mickelson doubtful of defending Sugarloaf title

ATLANTA - Two-time BellSouth Classic champion Phil Mickelson does not plan to defend the championship in the newly renamed AT&T Classic when it is played May 14-20 at the TPC at Sugarloaf course in Duluth.

''I'm not positive, but the way it's fitting in being the week after The Players, it's going to be difficult,'' Mickelson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday at the Buick Invitational in San Diego.

The Bellsouth has been played the week before the Masters and many PGA players have liked to use it as a tuneup for Augusta.

This year, the tournament will be the week after the Players Championship at the end of a three-tournament stretch that also includes the Byron Nelson Championship and the Wachovia Championship. Mickelson rarely plays four weeks in a row, the newspaper said.

''I'm really disappointed because that's a golf course and a tournament that I've grown to love and to have played well at,'' Mickelson said. ''Gosh, I've been fortunate the last two years to have won the tournament and it's such a great place to prepare for the Masters.''

- The Associated Press