Phil Mickelson named Ryder Cup assistant captain | Golf News and Tour Information
Phil Mickelson has appeared in every Ryder Cup since 1995. That streak will continue this fall at Whistling Straits. Just in another way.
U.S. captain Steve Stricker announced Wednesday that Mickelson and Fred Couples have been added to the team as vice-captains.
“I’ve been in close contact with Freddie and Phil, talking about all things Ryder Cup, for a while now,” captain Steve Stricker said. “They provide honest and impactful commentary, and both have such a passion for the Ryder Cup. I am honored that they have agreed to join our team and help put us in the best position to win in a few weeks to Whistling Straits.
Mickelson has made 12 Ryder Cup appearances and 47 career appearances, both team highs for Team USA. After becoming the oldest major championship winner in history with his PGA Championship triumph, Mickelson was very much in contention for the captain’s choice for the reds, whites and blues. But while Mickelson’s Wanamaker, coupled with his Ryder Cup experience, made him a viable contender, his game plummeted after his triumph at Kiawah, posting just one top-60 result in eight starts since the PGA. Mickelson admitted during last week’s BMW Championship that he would still like to be part of the American club even if he couldn’t participate as a player.
As for Couples, its participation is not a surprise; Patrick Cantlay accidentally broke the news after his win at Caves Valley on Sunday night. Couples played in five Ryder Cups during his career and were vice-captains to Davis Love III in the 2012 match. Mickelson and Couples join Davis Love III, Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson as Stricker’s vice-captains.
Our editors and editors are weighing in on Mickelson’s nomination.
Your first thoughts on Phil as an assistant?
The true impact of an alternate captain is impossible to quantify, but it’s hard to say that Phil will be a net negative for Team USA. If there are any concerns that Stricker is being too soft and nice, Phil seems like a strong voice who can deliver a message that might need to be communicated forcefully. Also, not to suggest that the rest of the captain’s room is hitting pop-ups at second base at this point, but Phil is playing a game – in terms of speed and power – that looks the most like any talents from top to bottom of the list. He plays the most with all of these guys, be it practice rounds, home games and weekly tours. This could be a real asset in the room when it comes to understanding and collaborating with players on course strategy. -Brendan Porath
Oh man, are they really gonna give Phil a walkie-talkie? One can only imagine the chatter that will ensue. Phil will need his own channel. We’re kidding, of course, because it’s the perfect solution to the Mickelson riddle. Phil wasn’t playing well enough to team up, but he was going to be greatly missed in the squad room. Now Stricker doesn’t have to make the tough decision, and he finds Phil and all his inspiration in ping pong tournaments. The other thing is: It’s Phil’s captain-in-waiting moment, but let’s hope he doesn’t overwhelm the real leader. We can hear it now, “Hey Strick, I had this brilliant idea…” Over the walkie-talkie, no less. -Tod Leonard
My first reaction is that I’m in awe of Phil Mickelson, golf’s ultimate showman, turning down the opportunity to play probably one last time in one of the game’s greatest showcases. a case for making the team, but I think even he recognizes that his inconsistent play – and notoriously wild ride – is not the best option for Steve Stricker’s team. Having played in a remarkable 12 Ryder Cups in a row, he will certainly be missed. -Alex Myers
Can I say sadness? Phil Mickelson has been on every Ryder Cup team since 1995. That’s 12 in a row. It’s one of the most underrated stats in our sport, and today marks the end of an era. Then I remember he literally won a major this year, so who knows. -Daniel Rapaport
Which candidate for Captain’s Choice benefits the most from Phil who is no longer in contention?
Webb Simpson. He’s not the sexiest pick, but it’s likely that Stricker will use one of his six spots on a veteran presence. Plus, the dude can still play: Webb was ninth among Americans in true Data Golf shots earned over the past six months, and he’s one of the best short game players on the American side (10th in SG/ around the green and 22nd in SG/putting). It’s a recipe for a viable four-ball partner and exactly the profile needed for foursomes. – Joel Beall
The answer here has to be Scottie Scheffler, who literally had no chance of succeeding had Phil slipped one of the captain’s picks. Now Scheffler’s chances have at least entered the “thin” category, which he can improve on with a good week at East Lake, where he finished tied for fifth a year ago. -Chris Powers
Patrick Reed seems like an obvious choice here, but I think Daniel Berger benefits the most from Phil now being off the board. His stat profile is absolutely indicative of someone who should be in the team. He should be there. But ranked 12th in points, he felt most in danger of someone like Phil slipping out to take a place. He may still be in danger from the others, but Phil is one less joker to worry about now. – PB
If Phil gets a vote, does he lean towards older candidates (Simpson, Kevin Na) because he knows them better? Or is he lobbying the captain for someone younger because taking these guys under his wing is his thing. I can see Phil pushing for someone like Scheffler, who reminds me of a young Keegan Bradley and the fun he and Mickelson had in Medinah. -TL