Luke Donald pulled out of the BellSouth Classic in Atlanta after torrential rain wiped out the first day's play.

The 27-year-old, joint runner-up in the Players Championship on Monday after that event was hit by bad weather too, makes his Masters debut next week.

He said: "Last week was obviously a very long week and I was very, very tired.

"It was tough mentally and physically having to play almost two rounds in one day in wet conditions and windy conditions."

After resting on Tuesday he appeared for the curtainraising pro-am - a failure to do so would have meant disqualification from the tournament - but after two threehour delays to play he contacted officials to pull out.

The Classic becomes the eighth US Tour event out of 14 this season to be adversely affected by the weather.

For another 24 players in the field this tournament is their final tune-up for next week's Masters.

They include defending Augusta champion Phil Mickelson, US Open champion Retief Goosen and Europeans Ian Woosnam, Thomas Levet, Joakim Haeggman, Jos> Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Another Monday finish is again a possibility, even with next week being the first major championship of the year.

Mickelson said that was no problem for him. He went to Augusta on Tuesday to practise in peace and quiet and was not planning to go back there until next Tuesday.

"It wouldn't bother me in the least," he said of the prospect of being kept in Atlanta for an extra day.

"I think this tournament should have the respect given to all of the others. I love the way the tour has been really making the commitment to getting 72 holes in."

Mickelson won the title in 2000 when the last round could not be played because of rain. He was tied with Jack Nicklaus' son Gary and the only Sunday action was a play-off between the two on the short 16th.

The world number four finished tenth last year, but felt the work he had done on his game under the heat of competition paid dividends the following week as he finally claimed his first major.

"The two courses are very similar and it's great preparation for a lot of guys who are playing next week.

"It gives me a great opportunity to get sharp and not worry about what's coming up next week. Hopefully I'll be able to play well and get some momentum."

Eleven strokes behind winner Fred Funk at Sawgrass on Monday Mickelson worked specifically on his driving at Augusta.

"I've put in a lot of time. Now it's time to start having it pay off."