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Mickelson hoping for Olympic place

ESPN staff
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Phil Mickelson finished second at the US PGA Championship © Getty Images
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Phil Mickelson has targeted a place at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, which will mark the first time since 1904 that golf will be a feature of the Games.

To make the US Olympic team, Mickelson will need to be in the top 15 of the world rankings as of July 11 that year where each country is limited to four players.

"I don't know why it's so important to me but it is," Mickelson said ahead of The Barclays. "I want to be a 46-year-old Olympian. So 2015 and 2016 are years I want to really focus on and I want to make sure I'm ready again."

Mickelson arrived at the Ridgewood Country Club for this year's first leg of the four-event FedEx Cup Play-offs after a second-placed finish at the US PGA Championship, his best finish of the season.

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"The PGA was a big week for me because it was the first time this year my game was back," Mickelson added.

"It gave me an excitement and energy heading into the FedEx Cup and Barclays here that my game is back and I'm ready to compete and get back into contention.

"It was so fun being up there again, and the nerves and the excitement of it all, it got me excited."

There was mild controversy during the final round of the US PGA Championship concerning the officials' handling of the final hole. Eventual champion Rory McIlroy and his group were allowed to play their second shots on the last hole before Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, playing one group ahead, could finish the hole.

However, Mickelson said that the decision had no effect on the outcome of the tournament.

"It's very common for us to have players run ahead, tee off ... that's absolutely normal," Mickelson admitted.

"What we don't normally do on the PGA Tour, which is not a big deal, is play up the last hole together. We usually tee off and then the groups fall back in order.

"That was the only difference we did but it's not going to affect the outcome. It's only going to help the event finish on Sunday with all the people there rather than come back the next morning for just a couple shots."

Mickelson's performance at the US PGA Championship helped him secure a record 10th straight Ryder Cup appearance.

Yet, his immediate concern is to perform well in the Barclays and compete for the £8 million prize money on offer for the eventual winner, an award he has never taken in the eight-year history of the series.

Failure to win one of the four Play-off events will mark the first time since 2003 that Mickelson has not won on the PGA Tour, potentially ending the longest current streak of 10 consecutive years with at least one victory.

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