Ryder Cup Logo Ryder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
Story Image Phil Mickelson rose in the rankings despite taking a week off. (Photo: Getty Images)

Notebook: Mickelson flies in from his sister's wedding

While most of the other U.S. team members tuned up for Ireland by playing, Phil Mickelson celebrated a joyous family moment. Plus, Jim Furyk doesn't care where he sits in the world ranking, and the fans are asked to keep it down.

September 17, 2006

STRAFFAN, Ireland (PA) -- Phil Mickelson's decision to attend his sister's wedding in California rather than play the HSBC World Match Play Championship has had one useful spinoff for him. He is back as world No. 2 for the Ryder Cup.

Jim Furyk moved above Mickelson by winning the Canadian Open a week ago, but then lost in the first round of the HSBC at Wentworth to European Ryder Cup player Robert Karlsson.

Because the rankings are based on a points average rather than total points Furyk, Tiger Woods' likely partner at the K Club, drops back to third.

With Woods another early Match Play casualty -- he went out early to fellow American Shaun Micheel -- he and Furyk were expected to be the first two members of Tom Lehman's team on parade in Ireland.

Most of the team were flying with Lehman from Washington to Dublin overnight after the completion of the 84 Lumber Classic on the PGA Tour in Pennsylvania, while Mickelson was traveling separately.

He and Woods, of course, were partners on the opening day of the last Ryder Cup two years ago, but were beaten first by Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington, then by Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood. Nobody expects to see them back together.

NUMBERS GAME: Putting the world's top two players together did not work for America in the last Ryder Cup, but Jim Furyk can think of no reason why it should not be more successful this week.

Furyk's victory in the Canadian Open last Sunday lifted him above Phil Mickelson into second place in the rankings behind Tiger Woods, though he is likely to fall back to third behind Mickelson when the new rankings come out on Monday.

He and Woods have been likely partners at the K Club ever since they were unbeaten in the Presidents Cup victory over the Rest of the World last year.

"I don't really see it as a big issue," said Furyk when it was put to him that the Europeans could gain real momentum by beating the game's top pair in one hit.

"I don't really personally see the difference between me being ranked third or second. If we put one and three together, one and two together it's just a number on paper," he added. "We still have to go out there and perform either way.

"And, raise your hand, does anyone in this room think I'm better than Phil Mickelson? Two guys," he said. "So I guess all the Europeans have their hands down -- and I'm going to remember every one of you next week!"

Furyk and Woods both played the HSBC World Match Play Championship as their final Ryder Cup tune-up, though both fell out early. Mickelson could have played too, but turned down the invitation because his sister was getting married in California.

KEEP IT QUIET: Spectators at the Ryder Cup are being asked to maintain "absolute silence" when shots are being played.

In the latest edition of the European Tour's "Ryder Cup News", European Captain Ian Woosnam says he and American skipper Tom Lehman look forward to "a close, exciting and sporting contest with each shot watched in absolute silence and the players on both sides applauded loudly."

The sold-out event is predicted to have a potential worldwide audience of more than two billion, with pictures being beamed to homes in 140 countries.

"There are now very few places on Earth where the Ryder Cup cannot be watched in one form or another," said Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills. A total of 125 cameras, 60 miles of cable, eight generators and 30 camera scaffold towers will be in place at the K Club for Europe's attempt to complete an unprecedented hat trick of wins.

Copyright 2006 PA Sport. All rights reserved.

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