JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson is still chasing two significant milestones as his career winds down; a U.S. Open championship and victory in Europe with the American Ryder Cup team.
Mickelson was triumphant on Sunday in his 100th match for the United States in team competition, beating Adam Hadwin of the International team 2&1 in the penultimate singles match at the Presidents Cup at Liberty National.
While he has played on 10 winning U.S. Presidents Cup teams, the pickings have been slimmer in the Ryder Cup, in which he has been a member of just three triumphant teams.
But five consecutive defeats in Europe leaves him with unfinished business at the biennial event at Le Golf National in France next September.
Mickelson, 47, first has to make the team, which will not be easy given the depth of talent in the U.S. right now.
“I have not been a part of a Ryder Cup victory in Europe,” he said. “We have the players, the foundation, and the direction and I want to be part of that team next year.
“I’ve got to bring something on the golf course. I’m going to go work hard on my game this off-season. I’m going to add some tournaments to try to get up on the list and make the team on the points, so we’ll see if I can do it.
“It’s been 25 years since we won a Ryder Cup over there. That would be really a career moment for me if we could go over there and ... keep the Ryder Cup.”
Mickelson was lukewarm about team competition early in his career, but has embraced it at time has gone by, caught up in the example of his younger team mates, who call him ‘grandpa’ behind his back.
“The young guys are not only great players, fiercely competitive, but they have a quality that’s taken me decades to acquire, and that is they are genuinely happy for each other’s success,” Mickelson said.
“That type of support amongst each other, even though they are competing against each other, brings about a really special energy and dynamic to this team.”
Mickelson has won five major championships, and needs to add a U.S. Open title to complete the career grand slam. He has been runner-up in the event six times.
Reporting by Andrew Both