Justin Thomas admits he is in awe of team-mate Phil Mickelson, who is making his 12th straight Presidents Cup appearance this week.
Thomas was crowned FedEx Cup champion on Sunday, and is expected to be one of the main weapons in the US team’s arsenal at Liberty National Golf Club this week, but the young American was marveling at Mickelson’s contribution on Tuesday instead.
“I was one (year old) when he played his first one, which is really crazy to think,” the 24-year-old said.
As for Mickelson, who has played in every Presidents Cup since the Match Play event debuted in 1994, he admits that his record in the competition is a source of great pride for him.
Unlike the Ryder Cup, the Americans have totally dominated against the Internationals, racking up nine wins, a tie and just one defeat.
Combined with his Ryder Cup appearances against Europe, Mickelson will be representing the United States for a record 23rd straight time.
“It’s one of the things I’m most proud of, to continue to be a part of this,” Mickelson said.
“One of the things I cherish the most are these events.”
This year, Mickelson needed a captain’s pick by Steve Stricker to join the squad, although his team-mates are still backing him to be a huge factor.
“Phil brings a lot of wisdom,” said Rickie Fowler. “He’s just good.
“He’s great with understanding what it’s like being on the team, pairings, how guys can match up, how they’re performing out there … he’s definitely a guy that guys look to as well as all of our captains.”
Mickelson’s experience could prove invaluable in a US team that features six rookies, and even the opposition acknowledges it.
“I think it’s going to become harder and harder for players to play at the top level for long periods of time,” said Australian Adam Scott when asked about Mickelson’s longevity.
“You’re just seeing more and more young guys really performing high and less guys over 40 able to maintain golf at the top level. It doesn’t mean that you can’t win big tournaments past 40, but to stay at the top week in, week out, it seemingly is getting tougher. A record like that may never be touched.”
Mickelson, though, reckons his record may be one broken one day.
“I think that it will be done,” he said, “because there’s so many talented players that I believe will have the longevity.
“But right now, it’s something I’m really proud of.”
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