Mickelson left his clubs and golf clothes behind when he left his room, he said. But unlike Rory McIlroy on the Sunday of the 2012 Ryder Cup, he did not require a police escort to make it to Medinah in time.
“Kind of a funny deal,” said Mickelson, who pulled into his assigned parking space 37 minutes before his tee time and changed from flip-flops to his golf shoes while still in the driver’s seat before heading to the range to hit a few drives and chips.
Woods and Mickelson were not the only American stars who left Medinah feeling deflated. For the second consecutive year, the 30-man Tour Championship field will not include Jordan Spieth, the 2015 FedEx Cup champion.
The 30th, and last, player to qualify was Jason Kokrak, who signed for a final-round 69, then waited nearly two hours to see if his 11-under score would be good enough to squeeze into the next event. Spieth, 26, closed with a 70 to finish tied for 37th, in a group that included Woods, to miss a berth to East Lake by 14 spots.
“I knew I needed something really special,” Spieth said, “and just didn’t have it.”
After regrouping, Spieth, a three-time major winner and former world No. 1, will set his sights on the Presidents Cup and what he needs to show Woods that he is worthy of being considered for one of his captain’s picks.
“I don’t necessarily feel I deserve it, but I also feel I can definitely help the team out a lot,” Spieth said.
The stirring duel down the stretch between the third-round leader, Thomas, and Cantlay, who started the day six strokes back, had to please Woods, the captain. But Woods, the competitor, exits this season with mixed feelings.