FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- The people's champion might have been taken down by the people's country club, but the 101st PGA Championship at Bethpage Black got all thumbs up from Phil Mickelson. A 76-76 weekend left him at 12-over and in a share of 71st place.
"This tournament, I thought was really well done, and I think the course setup was a way that identified the best players, and guys that struggled and hit some poor shots -- like myself -- it thoroughly punished me, but it also rewarded the guys that were hitting great shots," he said. "You didn't have those guys hitting great shots that got punished, and the guys that are playing the best were able to separate themselves."
He is already thinking about the prospects of what Bethpage could be when the PGA hosts the Ryder Cup here in 2024. Even though he will be 54, Mickelson vowed he will be a part of the team in some capacity.
"I'll be a part of the Ryder Cup in 2024 because this place is the best host site I could ever possibly think of with these people here, gives us a great home course advantage," he said.
It would be hard to see Mickelson not being selected as the captain for that event.
Despite being well off the pace, the New York gallery continued to follow him around the course in large numbers, many begging for him to lift his pant legs for a glimpse of his calves which have become a social media phenomenon.
With a driver that struggled to find the fairway, Mickelson had to play a number of second shots from outside the ropes. Many of those recoveries were followed by high fives and thumbs up as he made his way back inside the ropes.
"I think it's entertaining. I think it really is," he said. "It's been really fun and an honor for me to be able to play out here in front of them throughout my career, and I'm very appreciative of the memories and how they've made me feel."
Paul Casey, who turned in a 69 to finish at 5-over, had a chance to witness the environment up close.
"Playing with Phil was brilliant. We're friends, we've got the Arizona State connection," the Englishman said. "The crowd were amazing. He gets nothing but a positive reception around here, and I got a lot of that off the back of him, which was great. In 2024, I will get none of that.
"You know, 17 tee was quite raucous, and we're off -- I don't even know, five, six hours before the leaders are going to go off and it's raucous. So yes, amazing. I can't imagine what a Ryder Cup will be like around here. I think it would be intimidating, no doubt. I said in an interview earlier this week, it's like a 13th man for the U.S. team, big advantage."
This article is written by Keith Pearson from Boston Herald and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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