Mickelson setting a record to savour

Salisbury Journal: Phil Mickelson will become the most-capped American Ryder Cup player on Friday (AP) Phil Mickelson will become the most-capped American Ryder Cup player on Friday (AP)

Phil Mickelson set a record he did not want in the Ryder Cup two years ago - the most career defeats by any American in the history of the event. On Friday, he will set a record that makes him really proud - most caps by any American since the competition began in 1927.

Mickelson, making his ninth consecutive appearance, has tasted victory only in 1999 and 2008, and is urging the crowd to play their part at Medinah.

He said: "I think for us to do well we've got to feel the presence of the crowd here in Chicago. We need the support, we need that momentum, we need that energy that they provide for us to play our best golf."

Mickelson added: "I think that the environment here and the electricity that people bring is going to help us play well. I don't know if it'll be enough. It's a tough European team."

The 42-year-old has had 13 different partners since his debut in 1995 and debutant Keegan Bradley looks certain to become the 14th.

For six of his previous eight matches, Mickelson has had Tiger Woods as a team-mate, but they have played only two games together - in Detroit in 2004 - and lost them both. Never has a captain's plan backfired so spectacularly.

In Ryder Cup weeks Mickelson and Woods have become table tennis partners.

"We've had not much success together on the course, but I will say that as partners on the pong table he and I are delivering," Mickelson said.

"We are serving it up and there are not many guys that can match us on the pong table - we're rocking it."

The Americans have often been portrayed as not having the same camaraderie as Europe, but Mickelson's take on that is "I don't think that's an accurate perception at all".

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