Lefty hopes tee changes do the trick

Phil Mickelson is hoping that changes made off the tee will enable him to top the world rankings following the Barclays tournament.

Phil Mickelson is hoping that changes made off the tee will enable him to move past Tiger Woods and top the world rankings following the Barclays tournament this weekend.

The left-hander has struggled for form since winning the Masters back in April but will top the rankings with a victory at Ridgewood Country Club. A top-10 finish might also suffice depending on where Woods finishes.

“It would be pretty cool. I’ve been trying real hard to accomplish that,” said Mickelson, who has spent a record 259 weeks ranked number two. “I just haven’t played well enough yet.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to put it together this week. I’ve been working on my driver again, trying to get that thing in play and I think I’ve kind of come on to something there, adding a little bit more loft and just getting the ball in play.”

This week’s tournament is the first of the FedExCup play-offs, with Ernie Els topping the standings at the outset.

The South African said the pressure would now be on him to retain his position over the four play-off events.

“This tournament is worth 2,500 points (to the winner) and I’ve got 1,800 points all season,” said Els. “So it’s a totally different ball game the next four weeks.

“The race is on. The race starts now.”

Meanwhile, the Barclays will be without the third-placed player in the rankings, Jim Furyk, after he was disqualified for oversleeping and missing his Pro-Am tee time on Wednesday.

Even so, Furyk can fall no further than 19th and is therefore guaranteed a place in the second play-off event, the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Mickelson, himself ranked fourth in the FedEx chase, spoke up for Furyk and labelled the rule as “ridiculous”.

“The rule itself applies to only half the field,” said the 40-year-old, noting that half the golfers are not even asked to play in the Pro-Am.

“So if you’re going to have a rule that does not apply to everybody, because not everybody played the Pro-Am, you cannot have it affect the competition.

“It’s got to be a different penalty. It can’t be disqualification if it only applies to half the field.

“I cannot disagree with it more. It’s ridiculous.”