From the all-good-things-must-end department came Phil Mickelson’s public acknowledgment this week that he does not deserve nor expect to be on the U.S. Presidents Cup team when it goes to Australia in December.
That’s not exactly a revelation. But while it has become increasingly evident, it didn’t feel official until Mickelson said it in South Korea in advance of the PGA Tour’s CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges.
Here’s what “Phireside Phil,” an Instagram name he has given himself in a video he produces when he pleases, said when asked about being one of Tiger Woods’ four captain’s choices:
“No, no, no. I have not played well in the last seven, eight months. There are much better options of players that have played consistently at a high level that deserve to be on the team and … even if I were to win, I have not done enough to warrant a pick. I’m not asking for one, I don’t expect one. I think there’s a lot better options for the U.S. side.
“I would like to add that I am starting to play much better golf and I’m excited about this upcoming season and I’m excited about making the Ryder Cup team next year and I plan on doing that.”
So, while closing the door on the Presidents Cup team, Mickelson left open the Ryder Cup door … because he’s Phil.
Mickelson, who will turn 50 next June, has played on every American Presidents Cup team since the biennial event began in 1994. That’s a remarkable run of consistency, not to mention good health.
He’s also played in every Ryder Cup over the last 24 years, making him the true Yankee Doodle Dandy of American team golf. No one else comes close to what he’s done and it will be strange if he’s not in Australia.
Might Tiger Woods make Mickelson a vice captain so that he’s part of the team?
He might but don’t count on it. Perhaps if Woods adds himself to the playing roster he might feel the need for another vice captain. But he already has plenty of helpers in Fred Couples, Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker. Mickelson loves to be in the middle of the action but this may be the one he sits out.
Mickelson is like no one else in the game, not just for his damn-the-torpedoes playing style but because no player has been more outwardly confident through the years.
There is no doubt Mickelson will be a future Ryder Cup captain and should he not earn a playing spot at Whistling Straits next fall, it’s a safe bet that he will have a role with captain Stricker’s squad.
Mickelson is like no one else in the game, not just for his damn-the-torpedoes playing style but because no player has been more outwardly confident through the years. It’s been apparent that his confidence has dipped in recent months and he’s still chasing his best form. A missed cut and a T61 are indicative of where Mickelson’s game is.
While discovering the impact of well-done social media and, at the same time, dropping weight with his new diet and lifestyle, Mickelson’s golf game looks like that of a 49-year-old. There are still flashes of the old Phil, just not enough of them.
He’s talked often in recent years about losing focus on the golf course and it’s been apparent. Mickelson has appeared apathetic at times and that’s part of what led to the slimmed down version of himself.
Making the Ryder Cup team as a 50-year-old is the kind of goal that inspires Mickelson. He wouldn’t be the first 50-year-old Ryder Cup player but he would be in a small fraternity with Ted Ray, Jay Haas and Raymond Floyd and it’s the kind of achievement that Mickelson would relish.
Mickelson isn’t retiring, he’s just not going to play on the U.S. Presidents Cup team this year. After playing on 24 consecutive national teams, he’s done enough.
Phil Mickelson, shown donning red, white and blue during the 2016 Ryder Cup, is waving goodbye to participating in the Presidents Cup. Photo: Brian Spurlock, Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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