Phil Mickelson has had surgery for a sports hernia for the second time in three months and is not sure when he will play next.
The 2013 Open and Scottish Open champion first had surgery on his hernia in October, soon after playing in the Safeway Open in California.
His management company, Lagadere Sports, said last night that the five-time major champion is expected to make a full recovery, but it did not offer a timetable for his return.
Mickelson had planned to start 2017 at the CareerBuilder Challenge on 19-22 January in Palm Desert, California.
The statement said the 46-year-old was looking forward to the tournament, at least in his new role as ambassador for the event.
That tournament traditionally starts a run of events for Mickelson that would include the Farmers Insurance Open in his hometown of San Diego followed by the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Mickelson hasn’t won a title since landing a first Open Championship at Muirfield three years ago, that triumph coming a week after he also claimed the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open title at Castle Stuart.
He finished runner-up to Henrik Stenson this year in the Open Championship at Royal Troon.
Three Scots - Clarke Lutton, Craig Sutherland and Joe Knox - passed the first-stage test in the Alps Tour Qualifying School at La Cala in southern Spain.
UAE-based Lutton finished joint-fourth on the Europa Course, where Sutherland, a Kent-based Orkney Islander, also progressed comfortably in a share of sixth spot.
Lutton signed for a second-round 73 - he was four-over before finishing birdie-birdie for the second day in a row - as he finished on level-par.
Sutherland ended up a shot behind, having also carded the same second-day score. Out in three-over, he came home in one-under.
James McGilvray, the third Scot in the field on the Europa Course, missed out on 155 after rounds of 78 and 77.
Knox was among those who progressed from the Asia Course, where he finished joint-29th after rounds of 73 and 79.
Frenchman Sam Testelin won on the Europa Course with a seven-under total, finishing five clear of the field, while seven-under was also the winning total on the Asia Course as Austrian Nikolaus Wimmer and England’s Philip Kelly shared top spot there.
Lutton, Sutherland and Knox now join three compatriots - Ewen Ferguson, Jack McDonald and Jamie Savage - in the 54-hole final starting at the same venue on Thursday.
Open champion Henrik Stenson has landed his second big award in the space of a week, with further honours expected to come for the Swede.
Hot on the geels of becoming the second golfer after Annika Sörenstam to win one of the most prestigious prizes in Swedish sport, Svenska Dagbladet’s Bragdguldet, Stenson has been awarded the Golf Writers Trophy for the second time.
The award is voted by members of Association of Golf Writers and recognises the person or persons, born or resident in Europe, to have made the year’s most outstanding contribution to golf.
“It is always a great honour to receive the Association’s award,” said Stenson, who first earned it in 2013. “We talk about receiving recognition from your colleagues and your peers but, in this instance, it’s great to be receiving that recognition from some of the most knowledgeable media in the sport.”
Triumphant Curtis Cup captain Elaine Farquharson-Black has been handed another Great Britain & Ireland mission in next year’s Vagliano Trophy in Italy.
The Aberdeen lawyer has been retained as GB&I captain by the Ladies’ Golf Union for the match against the Continent of Europe after leading the jome side to a sensational 11.5-8.5 win over the US in the Curtis Cup at Dun Laoghaire in Ireland earlier this year.
The Deeside member earned a place in the record books as the first successful Scottish captain in the event as GB&I triumphed in the biennial bout for just the second time in the last ten contests.
“I am delighted to be continuing as captain of the GB&I team for the Vagliano Trophy,” said Farquharson-Black, who played on the same winning Curtis Cup team as Catriona Matthew (she was still Lambert then) at Prairie Dunes in 1992.
“I look forward to working with another talented group of golfers to prepare for the challenge of winning the match against the Continent of Europe next year.”
Matt Fitzpatrick has followed up his triumph in an epic finale to the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai by claiming the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month award for November.
The UAE title triumph was the 22-year-old’s second European Tour win of the season and his third overall.
He was previously named Golfer of the Month in October 2015 in recognition of his maiden victory at the British Masters, and again in January 2016 when the entire European team received the honour following victory in the EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.
Fitzpatrick said: “It’s fantastic to have three of these awards so early in my career, and getting this recognition again helps to round off a great year for me.”
Dougie Cleeton is swapping Blairgowrie for Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society early in 2017 to take up a new post at the historic Capital club.
The former Lothian & Borders police officer is leaving his role as managing secretary at the Perthshire venue to become the first CEO at the world’s fourth oldest golf club.
“Not many jobs could have enticed me away from Blairgowrie,” admitted Cleeton, a former Turnhouse champion and club secretary.
“But the opportunity to return to my home city and be given the opportunity to help drive such an historic club forward is something I could not resist.”