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