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Phil Mickelson sets his sights on 2016 Olympics


Amy and Phil MickelsonAmy and Phil Mickelson celebrate the United States' win in the 2008 Ryder Cup.

Phil Mickelson has represented the United States at nine Ryder Cups and 10 Presidents Cup. He's also played on a couple of Walker Cup teams. He's worn the red, white and blue proudly during his World Golf Hall of Fame career.

And he hopes to represent Team USA in at least one more international competition -- the Olympics.

The 44-year-old Mickelson told ESPN's Rick Reilly that he thinks the next few years will be the best of his career. Part of the reason is that golf will be part of the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, and he wants to be there.

"I'm going to win a bunch of tournaments. I'm going to win at least one U.S. Open, maybe two. And I'm going to make the 2016 Olympic team," Mickelson told Reilly.

"And really," Mickelson added, "I'd love to make the 2020 Olympic team. I'd be 50. How cool would that be?"

Although the two-year rolling window of results that determine the Olympic teams has yet to begin, Mickelson already has some ground to make up if he wants to win a spot in Rio.

The top 15 players in the world are all eligible to make the 60-man field, but each country is limited to four players.

As of June 24, Mickelson was 13th in the Official World Golf Ranking but the sixth American on the list behind Bubba Watson (No. 3), Matt Kuchar (No. 4), Tiger Woods (No. 5), Jordan Spieth (No. 9) and Jim Furyk (No. 12).

Thus, based on that list, USA Golf would be represented on the men's side by Watson, Kuchar, Woods and Spieth, with Furyk and Mickelson on the outside looking in.

Mickelson has struggled during the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season and is still looking for his first top-10 finish of the year. His lack of productivity on the greens has been a surprise, considering that just a year ago he ranked sixth in strokes gained-putting, the primary putting stat on the TOUR.

This year, he ranks 107th. At the U.S. Open in Pinehurst, he used a new putting grip to start the tournament, then switched back to his old putting grip after the first round.

But with two full years left to make the team, Mickelson has plenty of time to find his putting stroke.

Plus, Mickelson said he is in good enough health to make a sustained run at one of those four top-15 Olympic spots.

"My body isn't beat up like a lot of guys," Mickelson told Reilly. "My swing isn't like Tiger's, or Jason Day's, Dustin Johnson's, even Hunter Mahan's.

"I don't have a really fast golf swing that has a lot of viciousness, a lot of fierceness, where the torque and power that's released is hard on the knees, the back. My swing is big and long and has a wide, wide arc. That doesn't put any pressure on my body ...

"I'm like a kicker in the NFL. I'm not beat up. I can keep playing at a high level for a long time."

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