LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) – Phil Mickelson had a big part in encouraging Fred Couples to use a captain's pick on Jordan Spieth two years ago at the Presidents Cup. This time it was the 45-year-old Mickelson who needed to be picked, and Spieth was thrilled.
"I don't think there's anybody better in the locker room," Spieth said. "He's unbelievably positive. He brings some adrenaline and excitement we don't normally see in people his age to these team events."
Spieth is 22. Mickelson had already won twice on the PGA Tour before Spieth was even born.
"Boy, it's fun having him around," Spieth said. "He walks in, his stories – you guys have all heard plenty of them – his excitement, his just positive nature, his ability to come up to you and tell you that he knows you're going to win your match today before you even start. It's great to have that guy who's seen a lot of rough patches in the Ryder Cup. He's seen a couple wins in the Ryder Cup and a lot of wins in the Presidents Cup. He's seen it all as far as these team events go.
"So you just have that ability to trust him, and we like that."
ONE MORE WEEK: Jerry Kelly made a birdie on the final hole of the Deutsche Bank Championship to advance to the third event of the FedExCup playoffs north of Chicago. Kelly is from Wisconsin and refers to the BMW Championship as a home game.
Except that it's not home-field advantage. This is the first time he's ever played Conway Farms.
Kelly didn't advance to the third event in 2013 when it was held at Conway Farms. He has made it to the Tour Championship only once (2009) since the FedExCup began, and this year isn't looking all that great. Kelly is at No. 65, meaning he will need at least a third-place finish to get into the top 30 to reach the FedExCup finale at East Lake.
"I always like to look at it as pressure," Kelly said. "The fear is if you have a difficult start that you just say, `Oh, it's not in the cards, anyway.' I need to make sure, especially on a course like this, that when the wind is going to blow, anything can happen, and one great round can take away a lot of bad that has happened.
"I'm not going to let myself get down, even if it gets into a tough starting block position," he said. "Four days automatically helps a shorter hitter tremendously because I can still get one of the low rounds in there."
DIVOTS: Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson are among the Americans who plan two trips to Asia – for the Presidents Cup in South Korea (Oct. 8-11) and the HSBC Champions in Shanghai (Nov. 5-8). Johnson plans three trips. He's also planning to play the Hong Kong Open. Johnson said he would fly back to Los Angeles after each event instead of staying over. ... Inbee Park won the Rolex Annika Major Award for the best overall finishes in the LPGA majors. Park won two majors this year and her worst finish was a tie for 11th in the ANA Inspiration. ... The PGA Tour is using Twitter to allow fans to vote which uniforms the U.S. and International teams should wear in the opening session in South Korea on Oct. 8.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Billy Horschel (69) is the only player to start the FedExCup playoffs out of the top 20 and win the $10 million bonus.
FINAL WORD: "We're playing better than the Americans." – Suzann Petterson, on why the tide has swung in Europe's favor at the Solheim Cup.
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