Mickelson back while Bae gets start despite his military service

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Mickelson back while Bae gets start despite his military service

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Phil Mickelson earned a footnote in Presidents Cup history Tuesday when he was selected to play on his 21st consecutive U.S. team.

Mickelson was No. 30 in the standings, the lowest of any player to be a captain’s pick.

U.S. captain Jay Haas also took his son, Bill Haas, as expected. Bill Haas won his sixth PGA Tour title this year, finishing one shot short of a playoff spot at the Players Championship and 11th in the standings.

International captain Nick Price selected Steven Bowditch of Australia, who missed qualifying by less than one-hundredth of an average world ranking point, and Sang-moon Bae of South Korea, which attracted the most attention.

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The Presidents Cup is being held Oct. 8-11 in South Korea, the first time it has been held in Asia.

Bae has been ordered to start his mandatory two-year military service in South Korea when he returns home. Price said he has been told that Bae, who won the season-opening Frys.com Open last October, will be able to play in the Presidents Cup.

“I am so honored to be on this team,’’ Mickelson said.

“And to have it come from input from so many players and assistant captains wanting me to be on the team means a lot to me that I couldn’t put into words. It’s just a very special honor to be on the team.’’

Mickelson has gone two years since his last victory in the 2013 British Open, and at No. 51 in the FedEx Cup, he risks not making it to the Tour Championship for the second straight year. He was planning to skip the BMW Championship next week north of Chicago if he was not chosen for the Presidents Cup team.

Jay Haas, the other captain’s pic for the inaugural matches, said, “If anyone deserves a pick, it’s Phil Mickelson.

He is without question the leader of our team in the team room and on the golf course. I think the guys trust him 100 percent.

“The guys on the team were adamant that Phil is the guy, and I think between the captains and team members, Phil was an overwhelming choice to be a pick.’’

Bill Haas had a chance to win the Wyndham Championship, but he went flat during the last few weeks in a grind to make the team and play for his father. “I couldn’t sleep last night,’’ said Haas, who is on a family vacation with his father.

“The last few weeks, I really, really wanted to make the team outright. I can’t even explain how I was feeling on the golf course. It just showed how much I wanted it.’’

Bae was at No. 20 in the International standings, and his selection gives Price a pair of South Korean-born players. Danny Lee is the other, though he grew up in New Zealand and plays under the Kiwi flag.

Bae deferred his military service while playing the PGA Tour, but the military denied another deferral. Bae appealed the decision, but the military courts ruled against him.

“I think he’s had a really tough time,’’ Price said.

“His military service has been a cause for concern and it hasn’t allowed him to play his best. But I think once
he made the decision, he’s played a lot better.’’ One other aspect played in Bae’s favor. He has won twice on the Jack Nicklaus Golf Course in Incheon, where the matches will be played. AP
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