Mickelson's 'intangibles' too tough to overlook: Haas

Tue Oct 6, 2015 3:21am EDT
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By Peter Rutherford

INCHEON, South Korea (Reuters) - It has been a sub-par year by Phil Mickelson's own lofty standards, and some eyebrows were raised when he was selected for the Presidents Cup, but for U.S. skipper Jay Haas, the 45-year-old's experience and "intangibles" were hard to overlook.

Haas sprang something of a surprise by using a captain's pick on Mickelson last month, who was 30th in the Presidents Cup standings and had been viewed by many as a long shot after struggling for form for much of the past two years.

A captain's pick in the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994, world number 23 Mickelson had played his way onto every U.S. team since, compiling a record of 20 wins, 16 losses and 11 matches halved.

Haas told a news conference on Tuesday the five-time major winner brought so much more to the team than his performance on the course and said that had been a key factor in his decision to overlook higher-ranked players.

"I think Phil, the intangibles that he brought to the team maybe put him over the top," Haas said at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea. "You could say... his play didn't warrant being a consideration and all that.

"But I don't know you can put a value on what he means to the players and the demeanor he brings into the team room."

The United States have dominated the Presidents Cup, winning eight times in 10 editions, while the International team's only success came in 1998 at Royal Melbourne in Australia.

The teams battled to a tie in South Africa in 2013.   Continued...

U.S. team member Phil Mickelson attends a news conference during the 2015 Presidents Cup golf tournament at The Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, October 6, 2015.  REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji