Phil Mickelson has made every international team since 1994, but he’ll need to make one more impression on captain Steve Stricker to join the Presidents Cup roster.
Phil Mickelson is known for his fashion sense. From his custom-tailored shirts to hand-designed alligator golf shoes, Mickelson is always dressed to the nines. But as good as Lefty looks on the course most weeks, he’s even better when he sports the red, white and blue of Team USA. If he wants to do that again this year, though, he’ll have to make an impression on Presidents Cup captain Steve Stricker, and soon.
Mickelson will get just that chance this week at the Dell Technologies Championship. When the second FedEx Cup Playoff event ends on Labor Day, ten automatic qualifiers will earn their spot on the American roster. Stricker’s captain’s picks will be made on Sept. 6th, and Lefty has one more shot to impress.
Mickelson is currently 18th in the points race that concludes this week, and barring a victory at TPC Boston, he’s unlikely to make the team on points. However, Stricker has said that he won’t disqualify Phil from consideration, despite his summer slump.
"“[Mickelson] told me he wants to be on this team more than anything,” Stricker said. “But just like anybody else, I have got to see who is playing well at the time … I told him I would like to see him play well here on out to show me something, basically.”"
Stricker admitted that anybody telling Mickelson, a 42-time PGA TOUR winner and five-time major champion, to “show them something” sounded off. But as much as Stricker (and every American fan) want Phil on the team, winning is still important. If he can’t contribute, is he truly worth the pick?
Phil Mickelson’s “intangibles” could be the difference maker in the end
Let’s cut to the chase: Most onlookers, myself included, have a hard time envisioning a scenario where Stricker calls up Mickelson to tell him “thanks, but no thanks”. However, when the time comes and Mickelson is on the Presidents Cup team for a 12th straight time, it won’t be because he’s playing better than anybody else available.
Kevin Chappell, Brian Harman and Jason Dufner are currently the bubble players, ranked Nos. 11, 12, and 13 in the Presidents Cup qualifying race, and all have had better summers than Mickelson. Kyle Stanley, currently No. 27 entering the Dell Technologies Championship, is the hottest player outside the top 10. Even Tony Finau (No. 23) would make an interesting addition on his first international team.
There are a half dozen players who would be better additions to the team on form alone, but what will likely earn Mickelson his place on the roster isn’t something you can quantify.
For years now, Mickelson has been looked at as the “heart and soul” of Team USA. He’s the perfect combination of veteran experience and youthful humor and exuberance. He’s a guy who bridges generations, and nobody has a negative thing to say about Mickelson’s presence in the team room.
While Mickelson could easily earn a spot on leadership alone, he’s going to do his best to make Stricker’s decision as easy as possible. Tied for 12th place and just three shots off Dustin Johnson’s lead, Mickelson is looking to recapture some of his Beantown magic.
Will it be enough to impress the captain? We’ll find out in just a few days’ time.
Will Phil Mickelson make the team? Will he contribute if he does? Let us know what you think in the comments below!