sport

Ryder Cup spot for Mickelson

Phil Mickelson narrowly failed to claim a sixth major title in the US PGA Championship, but his second place behind Rory McIlroy kept alive a proud Ryder Cup record.

Mickelson had qualified automatically for each of his record nine previous Ryder Cup appearances and extended that impressive streak after pushing McIlroy all the way at Valhalla.

The 44-year-old moved from 10th in the standings to fifth and joins Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Jimmy Walker, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Zach Johnson on Tom Watson's team for Gleneagles.

Watson will add three wild cards on September 2 and could face some tough decisions, with Kuchar withdrawing before the start of the US PGA with back spasms and Tiger Woods missing the cut at Valhalla in just his fourth tournament since back surgery in March.

Woods has not qualified for the upcoming FedEx Cup play-offs and could therefore be out of action for the six weeks leading up to the Ryder Cup, although 2008 winning captain Paul Azinger feels the former world number one should not be picked anyway on current form and fitness.

Jason Dufner dropped out of the automatic qualifying positions after being forced to pull out after just 10 holes of his US PGA title defence and said he would not play again until completely healthy.

Mickelson, meanwhile, claims he needs to make some improvements if he is to build on his performance at Valhalla.

"Now I've got some regrouping to do these next three for four months," he said. "I have some glaring areas in my game that I have to work on.

"I feel like if I'm able to continue to be strong and healthy and sharp in these areas of my game, I should have four or five good years that I really want to focus in on.

"These next three or four months will be critical for me, making sure that I address the issues and that I'm ready to go in 2015."