Mickelson and Kuchar take aim at The Barclays
By Larry Fine
PARAMUS New Jersey (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar are primed for a chance to win this week's Barclays, the first installment of the four-event FedExCup playoffs, and derail the magical run of Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy, ranked first in the world and first in the FedExCup standings after winning the British Open, WGC-Bridgestone and PGA Championship in succession, begins a quest for a fourth victory in a row when the elite 125-man field tees it up on Thursday for the first round at Ridgewood Country Club.
Mickelson bounced back from a sub-par season with a second-place finish earlier this month behind the 25-year-old McIlroy in the PGA Championship at Valhalla for his ninth runner-up showing at a major.
"The PGA was a big week for me because it was the first time this year my game was back," Mickelson told reporters on Tuesday at the tree-lined course designed by A.W. Tillinghast.
"It gave me an excitement and energy heading into the FedExCup and Barclays here that my game is back and I'm ready to compete and get back into contention.
"It was so fun being up there again, and the nerves and the excitement of it all, it got me excited."
Kuchar was enthused about a return to Ridgewood, where in 2010 he won The Barclays with a birdie on the first playoff hole to defeat Scotsman Martin Laird.
"This is a place I've got fantastic memories from and a place that I knew when I played it the first time, it fit my eye and fit my game," American world number seven Kuchar said. Continued...