Randall's Rant: Prez Cup is better with Mickelson

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The Presidents Cup has already given us too many disappointments.

So here’s thanking Steve Stricker beforehand for not giving us an American team without Phil Mickelson, because that would rank among the worst.

Here’s thanking Captain Stricker for making Mickelson one of his two captain’s picks.

Because it’s a no-brainer, right skipper?

Stricker won’t announce his two captain’s picks until 5 p.m. ET Wednesday on Golf Channel, but it’s a huge upset if Mickelson isn’t on his team.

Sure, the Americans might actually be a better team without Mickelson, given other potential captain’s picks are in better overall form, but this won’t be a better event without Mickelson. It won’t be a better show. It won’t be better to watch, or to read about, or to follow.

The Presidents Cup isn’t the Ryder Cup.

It’s not even a distant cousin.

You can debate whether the Ryder Cup is an exhibition.

There’s no debating with the Presidents Cup.

The Presidents Cup is so one-sided, with the Internationals looking for their first victory in almost two decades. Yeah, two decades! They haven’t won since 1998, but nobody’s bothered proposing a task force to fix things.

The passions don’t run deep enough in this event.

I wrote four years ago that the team colors for the Internationals ought to be black and blue, because the beatings they’ve endured have left such ugly marks.

I wrote the team flag for the Internationals ought to be white, because they’ve broken out the white flag so early on so many Sundays in this event.


Team records: Full U.S. Ryder Cup roster

Team records: Full International Ryder Cup roster


That hasn’t really changed since I wrote it back in 2013.

The Americans are now 9-1-1 in this “competition.”

The United States’ one-point victory two years ago marked the first time since 2003 that the Americans didn’t win by three or more points. Close isn’t good enough. The Internationals really need to win more than once every couple decades to make it interesting.

But, here’s the thing: The Presidents Cup is a great showcase of individual star power, with the top four players in the world competing this year, with seven of the top 11 scheduled to be at Liberty National.

The star power makes the Presidents Cup worth making popcorn to watch.

It’s just not compelling team golf.

Not yet, anyway.

There isn’t the dramatic history the Ryder Cup has given us, the memorable comebacks or gut-wrenching defeats or even the bad blood that spirited competition creates.

Mickelson makes it a better showcase, gives it even more star power, gives it another subplot to keep us watching, even with the Americans overwhelming favorites to win again.

Mickelson is good theater all by himself.

Whoever he’s playing, you circle the match. His name practically lights up a pairings sheet.

There’s another reason Mickelson’s appearance will make this Presidents Cup show more meaningful. It’s the question he would bring with him to the first tee.

Is this Mickelson’s last hurrah on an American team?

It’s quite possible. Mickelson will be 48 the next time the Ryder Cup is played, and while nobody would be surprised if he rebounded next year and earned his way onto another team, nobody should be surprised if he didn't, either.

Raymond Floyd, 51, and Jay Haas, 50, are the oldest Americans to make a Ryder Cup team.

Mickelson is sure to be an American captain one day, maybe for more than one American team. He promises to be one of the most colorful and entertaining team captains in cup history, but here’s hoping Captain Stricker lights up a few more pairings sheets with his name before we go there.