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Phil Mickelson’s long-term goal is 2016 Olympics

Phil Mickelson

SHANGHAI, CHINA - NOVEMBER 02: Phil Mickelson of United States waves to the crowd after the 18th hole during the thrid round of the WGC - HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International Golf Club on November 2, 2013 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

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Phil Mickelson has designs on making the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team at age 46.

The five-time major champion explained his excitement at golf’s Olympic debut in a video interview published Thursday.

“The thing I’m working for is ’16,” Mickelson said. “I want to be an Olympic athlete. I think it’d be really cool. I think it’d be a life experience. I think it’d be something I never thought would happen because golf’s never been in the Olympics.”

But can he make it? The Olympic qualification system for golf allows the top 15 players in the world to automatically make it, capped at four players from one nation. After that, the field is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking with players from countries that don’t already have two players.

So, Mickelson pretty much has to be top 15 and one of the top four Americans. He is currently No. 4 and the second American overall, behind No. 1 Tiger Woods. The next best American, Steve Stricker, is three years older than Mickelson.

After that, he’s got competition from Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson and Keegan Bradley, all in their 20s or 30s.

“It’ll be a challenge for me to be playing at the highest level when I’m 46 in three years, but right now I’m still one of the top guys in the world,” Mickelson said. “I’m playing some of the best golf I’ve ever played.

“I’m so excited about these upcoming years, but really with the longer term goal, three years down the road, of being an Olympic athlete.”

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