If Love wants Mickelson to win at Ryder Cup, he'll pair him with a short hitter
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If Love wants Mickelson to win at Ryder Cup, he’ll pair him with a short hitter

As Davis Love III ponders one last time about the four wild-card picks he will share with his players tonight and the world on Tuesday, one consideration the captain should give is finding a partner for Phil Mickelson.

No, not Tiger Woods. He's got Steve Stricker, presumably a pick of Love's. I mean Phil Mickelson.

The left-hander has an atrocious Ryder Cup record, particularly in team matches. Mickelson has lost 17 times, but 13 of those losses have come in the two team formats: alternate shot and best ball. He has just seven wins with a partner in the Ryder Cup.

The kind of player Mickelson wins with, however, fits a particular profile. Mickelson has won with the likes of Corey Pavin, Tom Lehman, Anthony Kim and, most frequently, David Toms.

With the exception of Kim, all of those players share some common traits: short-to-medium-length hitters with bulldog personalities.

Of the eight players thought under consideration for a pick heading into the week, Brandt Snedeker fits the Mickelson mold well. He's 103rd in driving distance and, importantly, is first in strokes gained putting on the PGA Tour.

Or how about Hunter Mahan? He may have just one top-10 finish since his second win of the year in Houston in April, but Mahan is a statistical fit at 58th in driving distance. Then again, carrying a slightly negative strokes gained putting rating doesn't help anyone already on the team.

Perhaps the perfect fit is Jim Furyk. Furyk is horridly short - 173rd on the PGA Tour - but also is 24th in strokes gained putting, the 72nd-hole calamity at Firestone aside. Furyk also teamed with Mickelson to go 3-0-0 in team matches at last autumn's Presidents Cup.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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