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Mickelson will launch 2014 campaign in Abu Dhabi

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. runs to look at his shot from the rough at the fifth hole during the first round of the 89th PGA Championship gol
Phil Mickelson of the U.S. runs to look at his shot from the rough at the fifth hole during the first round of the 89th PGA Championship gol

By Tony Jimenez

(Reuters) - British Open winner Phil Mickelson will launch his campaign next year by returning to the Abu Dhabi Championship for the first time since 2011.

The world number four, who said last week that he would be making unspecified cuts to his schedule in 2014, is to join Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Luke Donald in a strong field at the $2.7 million European Tour event in the Gulf between January 16-19.

"To play Abu Dhabi in the early part of the year is a great opportunity," Mickelson said in a news release on Tuesday.

"I've wanted to return since my first time there in 2011. The golf course and facilities are outstanding and the quality of the field and the good weather make it a great place to start my season."

Five-times major winner Mickelson plans to play the week before each of the big four championships next year.

The 43-year-old American said last week that he would compete in Houston before the U.S. Masters, in Memphis ahead of the U.S. Open, in Scotland before the British Open and in Akron ahead of the U.S. PGA Championship.

Mickelson has clearly given particular thought to his preparations for the U.S. Open, the only major missing from his collection and a tournament where he has been runner-up six times.

Victory at the Pinehurst No. 2 course in June would make him only the sixth player to complete the modern grand slam.

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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