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Mickelson hell-bent on Olympic career finale

Mickelson hell-bent on Olympic career finale
By Reuters

20/08/2014 at 09:45Updated 20/08/2014 at 16:17

Five-times major winner Phil Mickelson, nearly done with a mostly disappointing season, has set his sights on 2015 and a campaign to realise a golfing dream at the Rio Olympics the following year.

Mickelson showed signs of a revival with his rousing runner-up finish to Rory McILroy at the PGA Championship and said on Tuesday that his sights were already trained on Rio.

"I know that I've made great strides this year in driving the golf ball ... but it's been a terrible year for my wedge and short irons. I also had a very poor year putting," he told reporters at Ridgewood Country Club, site of this week's FedExCup playoffs opener, The Barclays.

"I'm actually more looking forward to 2015 and after these next few events, after the Ryder Cup, I'll probably take the rest of the year off, work on my fitness, work on my golf game and really focus on 2015 because 2015 is when the points start accumulating really for the Olympics.

"I don't know why that's important to me, but it is. I want to be a 46-year-old Olympian, that's pretty cool.

"So 2015 and 2016 are years I want to really focus on and I want to make sure I'm ready again."

He will be 46 by the time the Games come around, and Mickelson's time at the top of golf would almost certainly be coming to an end by then - and playing for his country in Rio would be a fitting finale for a player among the top-20 major championship winners of all time.

But indeed, it seems that the sport's return to the Olympics might have come too late: the 44-year-old has not won this season and is in danger of going without a US PGA Tour victory for the first time in 11 years.

"Now I have to play well this week and in the FedExCup to really make the year salvageable," added Mickelson, a 42-time winner on the PGA Tour.