Mickelson's Presidents Cup influence will be more important off course

Phil Mickelson will be part of the U.S. team competing in the 2017 Presidents Cup on Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J. Scott Halleran/Getty Images

1. Phil's run continues

The last time Phil Mickelson did not play on a U.S. team that played in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, Jordan Spieth was but 2 months old and had yet to swing a plastic club in his crib. Jon Rahm, who will play for Europe in next year's Ryder Cup, had not been born.

It was 1993. Mickelson's then-caddie, Jim "Bones" Mackay, was so certain his boss would be a big part of those teams, he traveled to The Belfry in England on his own just to see what it was like as the Americans won that competition behind the likes of Paul Azinger, Davis Love III and Fred Couples in what would turn out to be its last Ryder Cup win in Europe.

Bones was right. Starting with the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994, Mickelson has been on every U.S. team since, including this year's event at Liberty National in a few weeks. He received an at-large pick from U.S. captain Steve Stricker on Wednesday, extending a streak that will reach 23 competitions.

"There's been some incredible experiences, and I think that what has been so fun, the relationships that have lasted, and going back to 1994, my first one,'' Mickelson, 47, said during a conference call Wednesday announcing his selection. "Those are the experiences that I cherish. Being in the team room, getting ready for a match, feeling the pressure.

"I look at that -- what it has done for me with those players from the first Presidents Cup I've played on -- and I look at what it's done now with some of these younger guys with a couple of decades age difference, and how I feel about Rickie Fowler, having played with him now on some of these team events and experiencing these emotions and this pressure with him and this bond that I feel that and friendship that we have. I'm double his age, basically, and it's a really cool thing."

To put into perspective Mickelson's longevity: since entering the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking at the end of 1993, he has never fallen out, spending a majority of that time ranked inside the top 20. He is currently 29th.

2. U.S. depth

Mickelson might have been passed over for a younger player, but the team already is loaded with experienced, young players. It is clear the core of U.S. Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams for the next several renditions will consist of Dustin Johnson, Spieth, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed and Fowler.

Thomas is making his debut at the Presidents Cup and was a fleeting thought for a captain's pick of Love III last year for the Ryder Cup. But his breakout five-victory season, including a major, should keep him in this group for several years.

Because the Presidents Cup is played over four days instead of three like the Ryder Cup and there is just one double session Saturday, Mickelson's role as a player can be reduced. Expect him to play just three matches, his influence more coming in the team room.

It is a testament to the Americans' depth that five members of the victorious Ryder Cup team at Hazeltine will not be on the squad at Liberty National: Brandt Snedeker (who has been out with an injury since The Open and very well might have qualified), Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker (who battled Lyme's Disease for most of this year), J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore did not make the team.

3. Lahiri's quest

Anirban Lahiri was a mild surprise as one of Nick Price's at-large selections for the International Presidents Cup team. Lahiri was 16th in the standings, but he will come to the event with plenty of motivation.

The Indian golfer was 0-3 at the 2015 Presidents Cup, including a tense singles match defeat against Chris Kirk in a 15 Ā½-14 Ā½ U.S. victory.

"Yeah, it's been two years waiting,'' Lahiri said. "Obviously, I've been wanting to get back on the team ever since that day in Korea. It's something that I feel that I need to do. I felt like I let the team down, and I feel like I need to go back there and contribute to the winning cause. I feel like in the last two years I've kind of grown as a player. I've definitely learned a lot, after having moved here, played here, and I feel like I'm ready to go back out there and make a positive difference to the team."

4. A unique sense of timing

Stacy Lewis had not won on the LPGA Tour in three years and was getting frustrated with the number of near-misses in the interim. Then, on the eve of last week's event in Portland, Oregon, with her hometown of Houston ravaged by Hurricane Harvey, she pledged her winnings for the week to relief efforts. And she won.

Not only did Lewis donate her $195,000 first prize, but a couple of her sponsors also stepped up to contribute.

5. FedEx Cup stars

Say what you will about the FedEx Cup playoffs, which have plenty of detractors and numerous suggestions for improvement, but the tournaments have been producing some terrific winners, which says something when you consider the strength of the fields.

Going in reverse order starting with Thomas' victory on Sunday at the Dell Technologies Championship, the past 10 winners have been Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Johnson, McIlroy, Reed, Spieth, Jason Day, Fowler and Day.

6. Good Sergio

Sergio Garcia is also donating money to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Texas based on every birdie and eagle he makes throughout the FedEx Cup playoffs.

7. Not-so-good Sergio

The Masters champion got a bit annoyed with himself at the Dell Technologies Championship, where, despite having an issue with his putter, he still managed to make a birdie on the hole, putting with a 3-wood.

8. He hopes to join them soon

Peter Uihlein, a highly touted player as an amateur when he played at Oklahoma State, went to Europe after turning pro and at age 28 has earned his way onto the PGA Tour after winning the first Web.com Finals event.

9. No other answer for Phil

When Mickelson questioned a young spectator about what he would do during last week's Dell Technologies pro-am, he got a classic response.