When Phil Mickelson made his 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th and final hole of the final Presidents Cup match Friday to secure a 1-up win with partner Kevin Kisner, it gave him 24 career points in this competition, tying the record held by Tiger Woods.
The first person with a wide smile and a congratulatory high five for Mickelson standing on the side of the 18th green? Woods, a U.S. team assistant captain.
It was a big day for Mickelson, who one day earlier had taken a selfie with former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama and nearly cropped himself out of the photo.
“So the record, I don’t really think much about,” said Mickelson, who has played in all 12 Presidents Cups. “I just love every opportunity to be a part of these events.”
When Mickelson sank the winning putt to defeat Jason Day and Marc Leishman, he and Kisner celebrated with what looked like a “¡Three Amigos!’’ dance.
“The ¡Three Amigos! thing we messed around [Friday] morning with,” Mickelson said. “I thought we biffed it when we were doing it, but when I looked back and saw the replay, I think we kind of nailed it, actually. But I get that I can’t dance. I get that I can’t take selfies, but I can putt, and it was nice to roll that last one in.”
U.S. captain Steve Stricker joked about the “¡Three Amigos!” bit, saying, “Yeah, I don’t know about that little dance on the last hole.”
“I wondered if that was going to come up,” International captain Nick Price joked.
“I saw him practicing it at one point, and I said, ‘I don’t know if that’s such a good idea,’ ” Stricker said. “But Phil is Phil, and he’s got a partner with him in Kisner that they like to do that kind of stuff. You’ve just got to let them go, I guess.They are having fun.”
The morning pairings for foursomes (alternate shot) are Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed against Marc Leishman and Jason Day, Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson against Adam Hadwin and Adam Scott, Mickelson and Kisner against Emiliano Grillo and Jhonattan Vegas and Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas against Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen.
After the foursomes, which begin art 7:02 a.m., the teams will play five four-ball matches in the afternoon.
Fowler and Thomas ended the perfect record of Grace and Oosthuizen, who were 6-0 as a team before they lost Friday.
“When you’re playing against somebody who at their best or somebody who has an undefeated record or a team that’s undefeated, for some reason, it makes you want to beat them even more,’’ Thomas said. “I told Rickie on the first tee, ‘Come on, we need to bring it today. This is going to be a tough team to beat. We’re going to need to play our best.’ ”
Anirban Lahiri, who was an International team captain’s pick by Nick Price, was disqualified from the third hole after he took a practice swing out of a bunker on the second hole, which is against the rules. The infraction came minutes after Lahiri hit his opening tee shot into the water.
“I think it was just an oversight on his part,’’ Price said. “He’s obviously trying to prove to all of us that his pick was worth it, and it’s put a lot of pressure on him. I think [Friday] he showed that; he was very tight out there. It’s hard. He really wants to do well, and you can see it in his attitude and the strain in his face. He’s having a tough time at the moment. But we’ll be better over the next two days, I can assure you.’’
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