Mickelson misses PGA cut, eyes rebound to make Presidents Cup
By Larry Fine
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson missed the PGA Championship cut after a 74 on Friday for an 11-over total and said he had to improve on his "atrocious" recent results to make the U.S. Presidents Cup team.
Steve Stricker concurred as he considers his captain's picks head of next month's biennial competition between the United States and an International team minus Europe.
"I’m not scoring well. I'm hitting the ball in every bad spot," Mickelson told reporters. "I mean the British (Open) and here have been atrocious."
Mickelson was 10-over and missed the cut last month at Royal Birkdale. He said he still has hopes of turning it around and competing in the Presidents Cup on Sept. 26-Oct. 1 at Liberty National in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he is a member.
"I would love to be on it but the way I’m playing, I’ve got to play better. I’ll come out and play the first two FedExCup events," Mickelson said.
"If I can play well in those, I have a chance to get on the team on my own (through points). If I play well in them and don't make it, I have a chance to be a (captain's) pick. But I've got to play well in them."
Stricker had a better day on the Quail Hollow course, shooting 70 for three-over to clinch his leading 26th consecutive cut made in major championships.
He said the Presidents Cup, and Mickelson, weighed on his mind ahead of his Sept. 6 announcement of two captain's picks.
"We had a talk in Akron (at WGC-Bridgestone last week). He told me he wants to be on this team more than anything," Stricker told reporters.
"And I would love to see him on the team. But like anybody else, I’ve got to see who’s playing well at the time. I know he’s struggling a little bit right now. And I told him I’d like him to play well from here on out and show me something."
Stricker said he appreciated Mickelson's intangibles -- his leadership and experience.
"I know how important he is on a team. How good he is with the young guys and how good he is in the locker room," Stricker said. "But it's the same for all the guys... you want the best guys playing the best at the end of the year."
Mickelson shot the worst score of his career at the PGA Championship on Thursday, an eight-over 79.
On Friday he said he felt good physically and is swinging the club well, but needed to make a mental adjustment.
"It's not like I'm hitting the ball crooked," he said. "I'm just hitting it in the wrong spot. Not really controlling my thought process, where I want the ball to go. I'm just not real focused out there," Mickelson added.
(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Ken Ferris)