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Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson (pictured), golf’s most prominent players for more than two decades, never realised the Ryder Cup would mean so much.
For Woods, it’s the culmination of a comeback that began in January after a fourth surgery on his lower back. For Mickelson, more than setting a record by playing his 12th Ryder Cup, the 48-year-old gets what he believes will be his last chance to capture that gold trophy away from home.
US captain Jim Furyk added them to his team Monday evening as wild-card selections, along with Bryson DeChambeau, the current FedExCup No. 1.
Woods (FedExCup No. 25) agreed to be a vice captain in late February, and he set a goal to be in Paris on September 28-30 as a player.
“It’s incredible, it really is, to look back at the start of the year and now to have accomplished a goal like that,” Woods said. “To be a part of this team, and now to be a player is just … beyond special.”
Mickelson (FedExCup No. 9) had qualified for every team since 1995, a streak that ended this year when he finished No. 10 in the standings. His 12th appearance breaks the Ryder Cup record held by Nick Faldo. Mickelson has made every Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup team since 1994.
Mickelson has only been on three winning Ryder Cup teams — at Brookline in 1999, Valhalla in 2008 and two years ago at Hazeltine. His last time overseas was at Gleneagles, where he infamously closed out a losing news conference by questioning captain Tom Watson and the direction the PGA of America was taking the US team.
That led to sweeping changes in the U.S. structure, mainly by giving players a stronger voice.
“This is mostly likely my last chance to go over to Europe and to be a part of a winning U.S. team in Europe. We haven’t done that in 25 years,” Mickelson said. – AFP