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Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

s much as this Ry­der Cup will be seen through the prism of the task force, it will be even more of a ref­er­en­dum on Mick­el­son. After scorch­ing so much earth, he’ll have to prove that it was worth it.

Mick­el­son, 46, has six top-five fin­ishes this year, in­clud­ing his run­ner-up at Troon, to vir­tu­ally en­sure he will qual­ify for the team on points rather than put fel­low task-force mem­ber Love in the awk­ward po­si­tion of hav­ing to pick him.

“More em­pha­sis will prob­a­bly be placed on me, good or bad, and I’m fine with that,” Mick­el­son said.“I think I’ll be fo­cused on things more than I should if things go well, but also more than I should if things don’t go well. But I care more about long-term suc­cess than what hap­pens in this par­tic­u­lar Ry­der Cup in re­la­tion to the task force.”

Mick­el­son then pre­sented a nar­ra­tive – con­sciously or un­con­sciously self-pro­tec­tive – posit­ing that the US team has much to do to get back on equal foot­ing with Europe.

“The Euro­peans have a psy­cho­log­i­cal ad­van­tage be­cause they’ve won so many re­cently,” he says.“They have great lead­er­ship. They have great con­sis­tency in their lead­er­ship.They have con­ti­nu­ity in the play­ers who play, and over­all con­ti­nu­ity. And they have mo­men­tum from past suc­cesses.This is our first year try­ing to em­u­late that for­mula and build for suc­cess.This will be the first time we’ll have a cap­tain (Love) who has had vice-cap­tain ex­pe­ri­ence in my 20 years of play­ing Ry­der Cup (Corey Pavin was also a vice cap­tain in 2006 be­fore be­com­ing cap­tain in 2010). We need them bounc­ing ideas off each other. But we’re 20 years be­hind our com­pe­ti­tion in terms of build­ing mo­men­tum, rap­port among ev­ery­one and con­ti­nu­ity of lead­er­ship.We’ve had a dif­fer­ent lead­er­ship style ev­ery two years for the past two decades. So we have a ways to go to catch up.”

Clearly, Mick­el­son be­lieves there is a proven Ry­der Cup for­mula. Fair enough. But for those who ex­pect im­me­di­ate re­sults, his

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