Mickelson cranks up his game for Tour's finish line
NORTON, Mass. – Phil Mickelson arrived in suburban Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship not having picked up a club since missing the secondary cut Saturday at The Barclays Championship.
When Mickelson left Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., there was some doubt about whether he would make the trip to TPC Boston this week. Mickelson felt an obligation to the PGA Tour to play out the string in the FedEx Cup playoffs, however long that might be.
“I’m in a bit of a predicament, let's say,” Mickelson said after his Thursday afternoon pro-am round. “The Tour doesn’t own the four or five largest revenue-producing events. We don’t own the majors or the Ryder Cup, so the FedEx Cup is really our flagship event, and as a player that’s received so much from the PGA Tour there is an obligation to support the FedEx Cup.”
At 57th on the FedEx Cup points list, Mickelson will need a solid tournament this week to make it to the 70-man BMW Championship next week at Cherry Hills near Denver.
Mickelson, 44, has played five of the past seven weeks: T-11 in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and T-23 in the Open Championship overseas, then a T-15 in the WGC-Bridgestone Open and a runner-up in the PGA Championship before last week's early exit from The Barclays. The allure of taking a week off led to an internal debate before this week.
“Had I played well last week and been assured of being in Denver, I probably would have done that,” Mickelson said.
In fact, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose, Nos. 4 and 5 in the world, respectively, opted for a week off before the homestretch into the Tour Championship.
If Mickelson had his druthers, he would have preferred that the Ryder Cup be played the week after the Sept. 18-21 Tour Championship, then go directly from Atlanta to Scotland. As it stands, the U.S. team's charter will leave from Atlanta, just a week later than Mickelson would have preferred.
With Mickelson’s schedule for the next couple of weeks dependent upon his play this week at TPC Boston, he even considered adding the ISPS Handa Wales Open, which is scheduled the week before the Sept. 26-28 Ryder Cup, but opted against it.
Now, Mickelson, a 42-time Tour winner who last won in the 2013 Open Championship, hopes to find his form in a morning practice session before his 12:52 p.m. tee time Friday.
“I'm going to play hard to the Ryder Cup," he said, "and as long as I know there's an end point, then I'm OK. I won't be going overseas at all, and I'll have 3 1/2 months off until 2015 because it's important to me to get my game ready for the Olympics in '16 and playing great next year.”