WASHINGTON: Phil Mickelson will have his brother, Tim, on his bag at the Greenbrier Classic this week as he tees it up for the first time since parting with his caddie of 25 years Jim “Bones” Mackay.
“This is an opportunity for me to spend time with one of my favorite people in the world, my brother Tim,” said the five-time major champion, who said last month that his split with Mackay was amicable.
Mickelson, 47, hasn’t won a title since the 2013 British Open, and he has never fared very well on the Old White TPC Course at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
He has missed the cut in three prior Greenbrier starts, but he arrives this week — after missing the US Open to attend his daughter Amanda’s high school graduation — eager for a victory that would help him earn his way onto the US Presidents Cup team.
“It is a big goal of mine to make it on that Presidents Cup team,” Mickelson said, noting he’s a member at Liberty National, the New Jersey club that will host the USA v Internationals match play tournament.
“I love playing golf in the metropolitan area and would love nothing more than to be on that team and continue the streak,” added Mickelson, who has played in all 11 Presidents Cups.
“After having received a captain’s pick last time, I feel it’s important I make it on my own. I’ve got six events to make this team. I’ve been working hard with my instructor to make be sure I’m swinging the way I need to.”
The Presidents Cup will also be on the mind of Mickelson playing partner Danny Lee of New Zealand.
Lee captured his lone US PGA Tour title at the Greenbrier in 2015 to make the Internationals Presidents Cup team that year.
He’s the most recent winner of the Greenbrier title, after last year’s tournament was cancelled in the wake of deadly floods in West Virginia.
In 2015, Lee opened the tournament with a seven-under par 63 and went on to beat David Hearn, Kevin Kisner and Robert Streb in a playoff.
With three top-six finishes in his past six starts, Lee said he’s in better position to qualify for the Presidents Cup than he was two years ago, and he believes he’s rounding into form after some indifferent play early in the season.
“I know I was struggling a little bit late in the last year and early this year,” Lee said. “I was just testing some stuff and switching coaches and off the golf course I had a little bit of problem with it.
“Everything is all settled in and I’m in a good place right now. I’m just ready to play some good golf.”