Ryder Cup Stars:Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson will play his first competitive golf of any kind in several months at the Ryder Cup this weekend. Phil's season began right where he had left off, as a champion. Unlike his peers, Phil enjoys playing the week before a major championship, getting his first victory of this year at the Bellsouth Classic. Mickelson followed that performace by winning the Masters for the second time, his third career major. Mickelson's year was already looking hot, only two years removed from holding the title of BPNTHWAM (Best Play Never to Have Won a Major). It appeared that a new Tiger was in town as the U.S. Open was all but Mickelson's with the lead, needing only a mediocre finish to the 17th and 18th holes on Sunday at Winged Foot. Unfortunately for Mickelson, that mediocre finish quickly became a major meltdown as Mickelson's tee shots were nowhere to be found, except perhaps a garbage can outside an merchandise tent. So, as the story goes, Mickelson would double bogey the final hole, needing only a bogey to force a playoff with Geoff Ogilvy, and that very moment, the 72nd hole of the 2006 U.S. Open, could possibly another turn of Lefty's career. Since that par 4, Mickelson has not been in contention at any event, compiling a long list of lackluster finishes and missed cuts. Lefty's season seemed over after his major meltdow, but Mickelson was willing to take some time off to get his mind back in the right place.
The Skinny
Mickelson has played in the Ryder Cup five times, going on his sixth with a total of 20 matches played since 1995. Mickelson's Ryder Cup record is very solid, having a singles record of 3-1-1, a foursome record of 2-2-2, and a four-balls record of 4-4-1. Mickelson was the second best qualifier for this Ryder Cup through the U.S. points system, and looks to reestablish himself as a player comparable to Woods who has flourished since Mickelson's struggle began. Don't look for Tiger to be paired with Mickelson again as 2004 captain Hal Sutton did, Lehman will most likely keep the successful Presidents Cup pairings of Mickelson with Chris DiMarco and Tiger with Jim Furyk.

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