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Mickelson takes great pride in Presidents Cup longevity

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. takes a break in play on the 15th tee during the second round of the 2011 U.S. Open golf tournament at Congressio
Phil Mickelson of the U.S. takes a break in play on the 15th tee during the second round of the 2011 U.S. Open golf tournament at Congressio

By Simon Evans

DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson has achieved plenty of success in his career but on Wednesday the five-time major winner said his status as the only golfer to play in every Presidents Cup is among those that he takes the most pride in.

Mickelson, who will link up with fellow American Keegan Bradley in Thursday's opening fourballs at the Presidents Cup said he was a captain's pick in 1994 but earned his spot on the team ever since based on his place in the Cup standings.

"As I look back on my career, without really thinking about it while I play, I think that will be one of the better records that I am most proud of," Mickelson told reporters on the eve of the biennial event that pits a 12-man U.S. team against a line-up of international players from outside Europe. "It just shows the level of consistency year in and year out."

Mickelson and Bradley will take part in what is arguably the marquee contest of the opening day against South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

Oosthuizen has only recently returned from injury but has declared himself fit to team-up with the 2011 Masters winner.

"I think those are two very strong players. Oosthuizen has not been healthy and able to play lately, but apparently he's 100 percent and his game looks pretty sharp.

"So the fact that he's hungry is going to be tough. It's going to be a tough match and Schwartzel has one of the most aesthetically beautiful swings you'll ever see.

"But Keegan and I are playing well. We're ready for it and we seem to bring out the best in each other. We had some great momentum at the Ryder Cup last year. We want that to continue."

There is a more relaxed mood for the Presidents Cup than for the Ryder Cup clashes with Europe, perhaps reflecting the United States' domination against the Internationals, who have managed just one win and one tie from nine encounters.

But Mickelson, who has an 18-14-10 Presidents Cup record, says he has grown fond of the team clashes and the different vibe that they generate.

"These team events have become some of my fondest memories, because of the relationships that are formed the week of the tournament, as well as the emotions that get brought out in this event," said world number three Mickelson.

"And regardless of what past results have been, it's a tournament we very much want to win, we very much want to play well in, and we want to represent the United States with class and pride in a way that everybody can be proud.

"So we want to play well, and past performance has nothing to do with it."

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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