USA captain Steve Stricker has praised Phil Mickelson for his PGA Championship victory and says the 50-year-old is “in the mix” for a place in his Ryder Cup team this September.
Mickelson became the oldest major winner in history with a two-shot victory at Kiawah Island on Sunday, with his 45th PGA Tour title lifting him to 32nd in the world rankings and up to 16th in the Ryder Cup qualification standings.
The six-time major champion has played in more Ryder Cups than any other player and has featured in every American team since his debut in 1995, with Mickelson’s history-making victory putting his name back in consideration for a possible 13th consecutive appearance for Team USA.
“It’s unbelievable what he did at 50 years of age, almost 51,” Stricker said ahead of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. “Now him climbing from 52nd [in the Ryder Cup standings] I think he was all the way up to 16, there was a reason why he was 52nd, right? He wasn’t playing all that great. Well, now there’s a reason why he’s 16, because he had one great tournament.
“Now I need to see what he’s going to do from this point forward. We still have a lot of play left. I’m rooting for him. He’s a great team player, he’s great in the locker rooms, he’s a great partner.
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“I’d love to see him continue what he did this last week and keep climbing that point list because I think he’s a huge benefit for our team. Bottom line, I think he does us a lot of good, and it was really interesting and cool to see what he did this last week for sure.
“With him [Mickelson], he’s right in the mix. I think I’ll be as interested as everybody else to see where he goes from here. Is he going to play like he did prior to this? Or use this as a stepping-stone and a motivational factor to make this team and play strong the rest of the year? We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Mickelson has made three appearances on the PGA Tour Champions since turning 50 last June, winning his first two events before finishing tied-20th at the Cologuard Classic in February, with 2018 Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk believing the win can inspire other players on the over 50’s circuit.
“I think we have a lot of pride in the product [PGA Tour Champions] we have,” Furyk said. “To see a guy our age go out there and still compete against the kids and then not only that, win a major championship, create history and then do it on a golf course that that’s not a golf course I would expect a 50 year old to win on.
“It’s not the golf course you’d expect a 50-year-old to win at. So I think you wrap that all together, it was a really cool week, obviously, for Phil and the world of golf, and I think the over 50’s take some pride in that.”
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Watch the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship throughout the week on Sky Sports Golf. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 6pm on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event.
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