Sports / Golf

Mickelson's value lies in 'intangibles'

By Reuters in Incheon, South Korea (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-07 08:37

Skipper says US Presidents Cup squad thrilled to have Phil

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 US skipper Jay Haas, the 45-year-old's experience and "intangibles" were hard to overlook.

Haas sprang something of a surprise last month by using a captain's pick on Mickelson, 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 No 23 Mickelson had played his way onto every US team since, compiling a record of 20 wins, 16 losses and 11 matches halved.

Mickelson's value lies in 'intangibles'

Haas told a media 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 think you can put a value on what he means to the players and the demeanor he brings into the team room."

The US has 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 tied in 2008.

Mickelson, who has not won on the PGA Tour since the British Open two years ago, was a popular choice within the entire US squad, said Haas, who is captaining the team for the first time.

"I would say that across the board, the players were all-in when we were texting them and talking to them. The captains, certainly, were all for Phil," he said.

"I guess the way I've been answering, 'Why did you not pick such and such a player?', I don't think there were any negatives to any of the players that we passed over."

J.B. Holmes had been one of those players overlooked by Haas but the big-hitting 33-year-old was drafted in at the last minute after Jim Furyk withdrew due to a wrist injury.

"We've certainly gotten younger and longer, and that's good," said Haas.

 Mickelson's value lies in 'intangibles'

Golf bags of US teammembers are displayed at a Tuesdaymedia conference ahead of this week's Presidents Cup tournament at The Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea. Kim Hongji / Reuters

(China Daily 10/07/2015 page11)

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