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October 2 2013

6:52 PM

Mickelson's longevity 'unbelievable'

Phil Mickelson is playing in his 19th straight international team competition this weelk.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

DUBLIN, Ohio -- The golf bags that the members of the U.S. Team are using this week at The Presidents Cup have ample shades of red, white and blue.

But it was a gold cup -- 10 of them, actually -- that caught Keegan Bradley's attention earlier this week.

Bradley was looking at the front of his buddy Phil Mickelson's bag. He did the math and looked at the man who will be his partner in Thursday's opening Four-ball competition with more than a little surprise.

"I guess I just didn't realize, I go, is this your 10th Presidents Cup?" Bradley recalled. "He kind of laughed and said, yeah."

Not only has Mickelson played on every U.S. Presidents Cup team -- the only man who can claim that distinction -- the World Golf Hall of Famer has also played in the last nine Ryder Cups.

To put that in perspective, consider this: Mickelson's streak of continuous international competition began in 1994 when Jordan Spieth, his rookie Presidents Cup teammate, was just over a year old.

"I think that statement says more about me and my age than it does about Jordan," Mickelson said with a wry grin.

Bradley called the streak an "unbelievable accomplishment.

"That just shows, he's been one of the most consistent players ever in this game, and I know how much these tournaments mean to him, so for him to play on every one is pretty amazing accomplishment," Bradley said.

Bill Haas, who is playing in his second Presidents Cup, was also impressed.

"I think that's pretty neat," Haas said. "That's something he may take for granted a little because he does it every year, but that's a pretty impressive thing, him and Tiger to have that many Cups on their bag. 

"Certainly a lot of people would love to have that kind of career."

Not only that, but Mickelson has only been a Captain's Pick once -- when Hale Irwin added him to the inaugural Presidents Cup team in 1994, a year when the big lefthander, then 24, won his fourth PGA TOUR event and posted nine other top-10 finishes. He has played his way onto the other 18 U.S. Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams.

"As I look back on my career without really thinking about it while I play, I think that will be one of the better records that that I am most proud of, because it just shows the level of consistency year in and year out," Mickelson acknowledged.

Brandt Snedeker agrees. The 43-year-old Mickelson has an 18-14-10 record in The Presidents Cup and a 14-18-6 mark in the Ryder Cup.

"You think about his longevity and how long he's been relevant, almost a rock star in this game, and to see him at this age ... and still won a major this year, still on top of his game after all these years is pretty phenomenal," Snedeker said. "He's a great guy to have in the team room, a great guy to lean on with all the experience he has in these things. 

"We're lucky to have him on our side, that's for sure."

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