Phil Mickelson said it’d be an “honor” to serve as an assistant captain at this year’s Ryder Cup, but he remains focused on trying to play his way onto the team.
The 50-year-old said although he hasn’t yet done enough to even merit consideration, he has plenty of opportunities to earn points with four majors and several other big tournaments before the team is finalized this fall.
“As we stand right now, I haven’t done anything to warrant that,” he told reporters Wednesday in advance of the European Tour's Saudi International. “So I’ve got to play well. Fortunately, the way the point system is, which is very heavy the year of the Ryder Cup, it gives every player an opportunity. If they play well, they can earn their way on the team.”
Mickelson is currently 40th in the standings, but he’s right about potentially making a move with improved play in 2021 – the majors offer two points per $1,000 earned for those who make the cut, with the regular-season events offering 1 ½ points. Since turning 50 last June, Mickelson has just a single finish inside the top 20.
The appointment last week of Davis Love III as the 2022 Presidents Cup captain was viewed by some as a missed opportunity to elevate Mickelson. Love has been involved as a captain or vice captain in nine cups since 2010, while Mickelson’s streak of 24 consecutive cups played came to an end at the 2019 Presidents Cup. Mickelson praised Love on Wednesday as a “terrific person, player and especially captain.”
Yet Mickelson wasn’t ready to say whether he was ready to shelve his clubs in favor of an earpiece. He said that it’d be an “honor” to serve as an assistant under Steve Stricker at Whistling Straits this year but didn’t disclose whether he’s already had a conversation about a potential role.
“Nothing I’d care to discuss publicly,” he said, “but we are very good friends.”
Pressed if the U.S. Ryder Cup succession plan is still in place – and if he is the mix as a future captain – Mickelson would only say: “I don’t know where to go with that. Those conversations, I don’t feel like they should be discussed here but amongst each other.”