Phil Mickelson on Ryder Cup captain's pick: 'I'm going to make it an easy decision'

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Phil Mickelson on Ryder Cup captain's pick: 'I'm going to make it an easy decision'

PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson on Ryder Cup captain's pick: 'I'm going to make it an easy decision'

PARAMUS, N.J. – Phil Mickelson made it hard on himself Thursday in Round 1 of the Northern Trust.

He sprayed the driver all over Ridgewood Country Club and hit just 3 of 14 fairways. True to form, he still managed a solid round with a 3-under 68.

As for the other thing in play – a captain’s pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team – Mickelson said he won’t make it so hard on captain Jim Furyk.

“I really like this golf course. I had a great week last week where I’m playing well, and I love TPC Boston,” Mickelson said. “So I’m going to play really well these next two weeks and I’m going to make it an easy decision.”

Mickelson finished 10th on the points list and failed to secure an automatic qualifying spot entering next month’s matches at Le Golf National in Paris, the first time that’s ever happened dating back to his debut in 1995.

He’s considered a lock as a captain’s pick but clearly doesn’t want to make his way to France on reputation alone. A strong FedEx Cup Playoffs push would be a good ego boost if nothing else.

Mickelson was in the All-American pairing Thursday alongside automatic qualifier Patrick Reed and Tony Finau, who’s also hoping to get a captain’s pick from Furyk.

All three shot under par, with Reed and Finau turning in matching 2-under 69s. The group had some added Ryder Cup flair as Reed’s wife, Justine, followed along dressed head to toe in American threads with a red skirt, U.S. “Team Reed” polo shirt and red Ryder Cup hat.

As for Mickelson’s erratic driving day, he gave a ridiculously Phil-esque assessment.

“I thought it was going to be a great day and had a great warmup and got on the course and just did the usual,” Mickelson said. “I’ll go hit some balls and try to get the timing or find out exactly what was a fraction off, but if you had seen the way I drove it yesterday, the previous few days, you would have expected, as I did, to have a phenomenal driving day. And I think I’ll get it turned around. I’ll have three good days.”

A record-extending 12th consecutive Ryder Cup is likely on the horizon for Mickelson, after which he’ll start to get ready for the $10 million match with Tiger Woods in Las Vegas.

Mickelson and Woods have already started a back-and-forth, with Mickelson not-so-coincidentally creating a Twitter account Wednesday morning just hours before Woods’ team confirmed The Match.

Woods was asked Thursday about potential smack talk or a boxing-type press conference in the days leading up.

“I think I’m -180 right now,” said Woods, pointing out his current odds as the favorite. “That’s all I’ve got to say.”

Mickelson’s reply:

“The way I believe I’m going to play the next three or four weeks, that’s going to change, so I’ll get (the betting line) down quick.”

Finau said Mickelson was already picking his brain about Twitter during the round Thursday. And, like his approach off the tee, Finau said he’s not expecting Mickelson to hold anything back.

“He doesn’t mind controversy,” Finau said. “That’s nothing that’s new to him. So if he wants to stir up the pot a little bit, he’ll do it.”

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