Lefty fully committed to Ryder Cup
US captain Corey Pavin says Phil Mickelson is fully committed to playing in September’s Ryder Cup in Wales.
American captain Corey Pavin has no doubt that Masters champion Phil Mickelson is fully committed to playing in the Ryder Cup matches at Celtic Manor in October.
Ahead of this week’s Volvo China Open Pavin was quoted as saying “I am not sure if Phil’s locked into making the team”.
This possibly because it has been suggested, given Mickelson’s off-course situation with his wife and mother both battling breast cancer, that he was hesitant about committing himself to the Wales event.
But after carding a bogey-free opening round five-under-67 in China today to sit three shots off the lead, Pavin said he was now confident Mickelson would make an eighth consecutive appearance as the USA seek to hang on to the famous trophy in October.
“I meant by the points; if he has made enough points to be already guaranteed to play,” said Pavin, a two-time Ryder Cup winner as a player.
Mickelson has taken time away from the game to be with his family and missed the WCG-Accenture Match Play Championship in February, but after winning a third green jacket last week at Augusta, the two-time Ryder Cup winner currently tops the USA point table.
Pavin added: “I was just saying that I don’t know if he has already made enough points to lock himself into the team if he didn’t make another point. I know he wants to play.”
Pavin, though, is less certain about the availability of Tiger Woods after the world number one returned from his self-imposed exile with fourth at Augusta only to then reveal he plans to take another break.
His finish at Augusta pushed Woods, who has only been on a winning Ryder Cup team once in five appearances, up to seventh and into an automatic qualification place on the points table.
“If Tiger is playing well enough I would give him a captain’s pick if he didn’t qualify, but he would have to be playing well enough,” added Pavin.
“If he doesn’t play at all leading up to the Ryder Cup it is going to be pretty tricky to pick him as I don’t know how he would be playing.
“It would be hard not to pick him at any point, but he needs to play well, he needs to show me he is playing well just like any other player. Just because he is Tiger doesn’t mean he has a free pass on to the team just like any other player.”
Pavin struck an early blow for America today in China after his 67 outshone European counterpart and playing partner Colin Montgomerie with the Scot being forced to settle for a frustrating level par round despite managing six birdies.
Pavin, who posted a runner-up finish at the US PGA Champions Tour event in the Dominican Republic at the end of last month, sits three shots adrift of first round leaders Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and Korea’s Kim Do-hoon.
“We didn’t talk about the Ryder Cup. We had a couple of conversations, but it was just chit-chat,” said 50-year-old Pavin.
“We wouldn’t talk Ryder Cup on the course, we’d do that off it as it’s too serious for the course.
“We had one little chat off course about the Ryder Cup, but it wasn’t dramatic. We had good conversation on the golf course and it was fun.
“It’s been a while since I played with Monty. I enjoy playing with him – he’s a great player.”
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