Phil Mickelson may not have hauled in his first-ever Player of the Year award, which Presidents Cup teammate Tiger Woods picked up on Friday, but the 43-year-old reigning British Open champion brings one of his best PGA Tour seasons to the proceedings at Muirfield Village this week.
Lefty, with an overall record of 18-14-10 as a nine-time member of the U.S. team in its biennial matches with the International squad, is likely to see some action paired with his newest protege, Jordan Spieth. The newly crowned Rookie of the Year made it into one of Mickelson’s renowned practice rounds ahead of the Tour Championship and reportedly, along with Steve Stricker, plucked a few Benjamins from the pocket of his mentor and another of Phil’s celebrity apprentices, Keegan Bradley.
It was his rapport with Bradley that energized the Hall of Famer to great heights (and a superlative 3-0 record in team play) during last year’s Ryder Cup and cemented Mickelson’s stature as team leader. Look for Phil, who genuinely appreciates the exuberance of youth, to take special interest in Spieth, Bradley, and the other Presidents Cup first-timers, Brandt Snedeker and Jason Dufner.
"Those guys are fun guys to be around, and they add a lot off the golf course, making it a very enjoyable experience," Mickelson said after finishing tied with Bradley in 12th place at East Lake. "We're all looking forward to having those guys on the team."
World Ranking: 3
Qualified: Automatic spot No. 3 of 10
Presidents Cup Match Play Record: 18-14-10 (1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011)