Phil Mickelson misses PGA cut, at captain’s mercy for Ryder Cup

Phil Mickelson misses PGA cut, at captain’s mercy for Ryder Cup

ST. LOUIS — When Phil Mickelson missed the cut in the PGA Championship, failing to play the weekend at Bellerive Country Club, it guaranteed he will not qualify for the Ryder Cup on points. That ends a streak of 11 consecutive U.S. Ryder Cup teams for which he qualified via the points system.

Mickelson shot 71 in the second round, which was completed Saturday morning, and finished 4-over, missing the cut by four strokes. He inched closer to the cut with an early birdie on the back nine to get to 2-over, but never made another birdie and made a double-bogey at the 16th hole to effectively end his week.

It was the second consecutive year Mickelson has missed the cut at the PGA Championship. The 2005 winner of the PGA at Baltusrol had made 21 consecutive cuts prior to that going back to 1995.

The top eight players in the standings following the conclusion of the PGA on Sunday automatically qualify for the Ryder Cup team. U.S. captain Jim Furyk will then make two captains picks on Sept. 4 and another two on Sept. 10.

It would be an upset if Mickelson, who essentially serves as an assistant captain, is not one of Furyk’s four picks. The same goes for Tiger Woods should he not move into the top-eight points list by Sunday. Woods already has been named an assistant captain.

The 48-year-old Mickelson, who won the WGC-Mexico in the spring, played on his first U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1995 and has made every team since, including two years ago at Hazeltine, where the Americans won for just the third time in his 11 appearances.

Mickelson entered the week 10th in the standings and needed roughly a top-20 finish to give himself a chance. But a first-round 73 had him scrambling to make the cut.

In recent years, he has been a catalyst for the changes made in the makeup of the teams and, along with Woods, part of the Ryder Cup committee that also includes Furyk and three PGA of America officials.

Mickelson, ranked 21st in the world, also been on every U.S. Presidents Cup team dating to 1994.

In other Ryder Cup implications this week, several players high on the points list failed to make the PGA cut, including Patrick Reed (No. 4), Bubba Watson (No. 5), Bryson DeChambeau (No. 9) and Matt Kuchar (No. 11).

One U.S. player in contention for a Ryder Cup berth who showed some spark was Tony Finau, who rallied from an opening-round 74 to make the cut with a wild second-round 66 that got him to even par, making the cut on the number.

Finau, who is No. 13 on the points list and played the first two rounds with Furyk (who also made the cut at even par), carded 10 birdies in his second round, including birdies on his first five holes.

“I’m human,’’ Finau said. “I came back out the second round and just played golf. The outcome’s going to be the outcome. Whatever happens this week, happens. It was still an emotional roller coaster in the second round. A lot happened, but to post 10 birdies in a major championship is pretty special.

Tony FinauGetty Images

“Gary Player [whose birdie record Finau tied] is a guy that I admired, looked up to, I got to know him a little bit doing his charity event, and to be mentioned in the same breath as him as far as major championships is pretty cool for me at this point in my career.’’

Asked what Furyk’s reaction to all the birdies was, Finau said, “He didn’t say anything, but he was just shaking his head. For sure it was the craziest round I think he’s ever seen. So the good news is 10 birdies in a major is pretty good.’’

Finau, who double bogeyed No. 6 after his five birdies to start, did not have a par in the second round until the 10th hole. One characteristic Furyk surely took note of was the fact that Finau didn’t let his 4-over opening round get him down.

“I feel like I’m pretty good about bouncing back,’’ Finau said. “My attitude allows me to do that — never too high, never too low. “It was kind of a shocker with how good everything was going for the first five holes. It was like I almost felt like I couldn’t do anything wrong. So maybe it kind of woke me up. But I was happy to bounce back with a couple of those birdies and again just post a solid round in my second round.’’

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