Mickelson to sit out afternoon four-balls at Prez Cup

Phil Mickelson looks on at the sixth hole during the Day 3 Morning Foursomes Matches of the 2011 Presidents Cup.

Phil Mickelson looks on at the sixth hole during the Day 3 Morning Foursomes Matches of the 2011 Presidents Cup.

MELBOURNE, Australia – In a surprise move, U.S. captain Fred Couples decided to sit Phil Mickelson in Presidents Cup four-ball matches Saturday afternoon.

On the surface, the decision appears curious because Mickelson entered Saturday morning foursomes undefeated in his last 10 Presidents matches and with just one loss in his last 17 matches (11-1-5 record). The 10 matches without a loss is the longest streak in Presidents history and it was extended Saturday morning with a foursomes win over Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley. Mickelson and Furyk defeated Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley, 2 and 1, having rallied from a 2 down through 10.

“Phil wanted to sit from the beginning,” Couples said. “We’re going to do that. He wants to be fresh for singles. Yesterday was a grind.”

Couples chose to sit two men in their 40s. Mickelson is 41, David Toms 44.

“I wanted to take the afternoon off if possible,” said Mickelson, who had played 32 straight PC matches, last sitting here in 1998. “I wanted to be fresh for singles.”

The U.S. captain said Mickelson “asked to sit, if need be. Same as David Toms.” He added, “He has an unbelievable record, but he’s no longer 38 ... That’s not really an answer, but that’s the best I can give you.”

Mickelson and Jim Furyk won their first two matches here at Royal Melbourne. Though Furyk is also 41 and not as lethal of a best-ball player as Mickelson, Couples chose to put him out Saturday afternoon with Nick Watney.

Woods and Johnson defeated Scott and Choi in Saturday foursomes, 3 and 2. Until then, Woods had been the only American player without at least a half point.

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