Phil Mickelson might wind up enjoying his method into the Ryder Cup in addition to golf historical past with a victory on Sunday on the PGA Championship on blustery Kiawah Island.
The 50-year-old US left-hander fired a two-under par 70 on Saturday to seize a one-stroke lead over Brooks Koepka heading into the ultimate spherical on the formidable Ocean Course.
And whereas Mickelson’s 2021 type has not been robust, US Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker says the similarities between Whistling Straits, the place the US-Europe showdown might be performed in September, and Kiawah might increase a winner’s trigger for a captain’s decide.
“You could put a pretty good amount of weight on this week because this is really similar to Whistling Straits,” Stricker stated. “We’ve got wind, we’ve got links style but not really links style golf, which is similar to Whistling Straits.
“We’ll take a look at who performed properly right here this week for certain as a result of it is a telltale for Whistling Straits.”
Mickelson has played on every US Ryder Cup team since making his debut in 1995, winning three times.
“It’s spectacular whenever you’ve received a 50-year-old main,” Stricker said. “But he is a particular participant. He’s one of many best gamers within the historical past of the sport, he has stored his well being and his flexibility, and he nonetheless hits it lengthy sufficient to compete.
“He still has a tremendous amount of desire to compete at this level and that’s why he’s playing well.”
Three-time main winner Jordan Spieth says he by no means watches golf on tv however would to see Phil.
“It’s Phil. It’s theatre. I don’t watch golf but I promise you I’m going to turn it on to watch him,” Spieth stated. “It’s pretty incredible.
“The man has received 4 good rounds on any golf course in him, and nobody would wager in opposition to that.”
Irishman Shane Lowry, the 2019 British Open champion, marvels at Mickelson’s success this week.
“Wow, it is an unbelievable story up to now,” Lowry said. “Who is aware of if he’ll maintain on or not or he’ll go on and win, nevertheless it’s pretty unimaginable what he is doing. So honest play to him.”
American Joel Dahmen says he’d be surprised to see Mickelson pull it off.
“I’m rooting for him. It can be an unimaginable story,” he said. “It’s going to be robust. I’m rooting for him, however I’d be impressed if it did.”
– Age only a number –
To American Charley Hoffman, Mickelson turning back the clock proves an old adage.
“Age is only a quantity,” he said. “Phil works more durable than anyone. He performs extra holes than anyone. He practices more durable than anyone.
“Phil is one of the best players to ever play the game. It doesn’t surprise me.”
American Gary Woodland, the 2019 US Open champion, stated he provides hope of a protracted profession to each rival he faces.
“Any time Phil shows up, you appreciate what he’s doing,” Woodland stated. “He’s phenomenal. He’s entertaining. And what he’s doing, that gives everybody hope. I want to play this game for a long time.
“What he is doing proper now, popping out and beating up on the opposite guys on this golf course, it’s extremely spectacular.”