JERSEY CITY, NJ – He tied the record in style. Well, until the “Three Amigos” celebration.
With an 18th-hole birdie putt Friday, Phil Mickelson joined Tiger Woods as the winner of most matches in Presidents Cup history. The 12-footer, made after partner Kevin Kisner put his tee shot in the water, sealed a 1-up win over Jason Day and Marc Leishman.
“I’m getting chills as we speak,” Mickelson said to Jimmy Roberts when asked about his long, storied career in Cup events. Mickelson’s Presidents Cup record is now 24-16-13, with contributions from 16 different partners.
Kisner, who contributed mightily to the cause posting three birdies in the first eight holes, roared as the birdie putt dropped and attempted an oddball homage to the “Three Amigos” salute with Mickelson the two worked on before the round.
“He panicked, I panicked,” Kisner laughed when explaining the moment.
Mickelson initially took the blame for the aborted effort that may join the list of great celebration fails.
“I’m the worst Three Amigos dancer, but Jimmy I can putt,” Mickelson told the NBC reporter.
After having reviewed the replay, Mickelson rescinded his self-criticism.
“I thought we biffed it when we were doing it but when I looked back and saw the replay, I think we kind of nailed it actually,” he said. “But I get that I can’t dance. I get that I can’t take selfies, but I can putt, and it was nice to roll that last one in.”
More symbolic will be the sight of Woods, standing with captain Steve Stricker just off the 18th green and raising a fist in the air as his Presidents Cup win record was tied by a longtime rival.
Friday’s four-ball played out in opposite fashion to Thursday’s foursomes match between the same teams. While Mickelson and Kisner had seemed to be cruising until a comeback by Marc Leishman and Jason Day led to an all-square conclusion, the situation reversed Friday.
In the best-ball format, Leishman opened with a first hole birdie after laying up and the duo built a 2-up lead carried until the 11th hole when Kisner hit a 216-yard approach to 6 feet and made his fourth birdie of the round.
But it was Mickelson who made the final putt and a share of Presidents Cup history.
Day and Leishman surrendered their lead at 15 thanks to another long Kisner putt, a 20-footer even as Mickelson faced a pretty straightforward 6-footer but as he had most of the day, merely practiced and wondered what might have been.
“I never got to finish them off because my man Kisner kept rolling them in.” he said.
Everyone had moments in this match, but Kisner’s driving, putting and love of team match play exhibited at this year’s Zurich Classic has appeared at Liberty National as expected. While he hit a few more poor iron shots as he did in the first round, Kisner delivered for Stricker.
Mickelson’s birdie putt on 18, of course. The putt and celebration:
Mickelson picked an interesting time to set the record straight on his once-in-a-lifetime selfie featuring three former Presidents. “Who takes a selfie and crops himself out?” Mickelson deadpanned minutes after making the wining putt. In hindsight, the photo is pretty terrible. But it was his first selfie.