JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (Reuters) - It is difficult to decide whether it is more impressive that Phil Mickelson has played every Presidents Cup or that he has only once been on a losing U.S. team.
Mickelson will play his 12th consecutive Presidents Cup when he tees up at Liberty National on Thursday against an International team from the rest of the world, excluding Europe.
He has not missed a Ryder Cup either since his debut in 1995, which means he will make his 23rd team appearance for the red, white and blue, a remarkable record not just of sustained excellence, but also of having avoided serious injury.
He had to rely on a wild card pick by captain Steve Stricker this year, something few would begrudge him.
“It’s one of the things I’m most proud of, to continue to be a part of this,” the 47-year-old Californian said on Tuesday.
While some observers think the Presidents Cup needs the International team to win occasionally to boost the status of the event, Mickelson does not quite see it that way.
“I don’t think so, no,” he said when the question was posed. “If you look at the talent on the International team, it is strong and it is deep and if we open the door and give them an opportunity it will bite us.”
Mickelson has won five major championships, and probably would have captured considerably more if his career had not coincided with that of Tiger Woods.
“He’s Phil Mickelson for a reason but I think I lot of people don’t realize how good he is,” said Australian Jason Day, a member of the International team.
“I think Tiger kind of overshadows his career a little bit. If there was no Tiger, I wonder have many times Phil probably would have won.
Day described Mickelson as “one of the best players that ever lived” and expressed awe at his longevity as a player in the Presidents Cup since it started in 1994.
“That is probably one of the best accomplishments you could have, because it means you were consistent from 1994 all the way up to 2017. That’s hard to do.”
Reporting by Andrew Both