Phil Mickelson Has Chance to be Tops in Golf -- Assuming He Doesn't Choke, Of Course

Phil Mickelson, the pride and joy of the Arizona State University golf program, has a chance to blow an opportunity he's never blown before: "Lefty" could become the number-one player in golf.

By sinking a 15-foot putt to finish the Quail Hollow Championship in second place on Sunday, Mickelson earned enough points to potentially be ranked the leading golfer in the world for the first time in his career.

A couple of things need to happen, though.

To earn the top spot, Phil would need to win The Players Championship, and Tiger Woods would have to finish out of the top five.

Given the way Tiger (who missed the cut this weekend for only the sixth time in his career) and Phil played this past weekend, that result doesn't seem all that unlikely, even considering Mickelson's impressive record of choke-artistry.

Mickelson is the only one of four golfers dubbed "The Big Four" to never have earned the distinction of top golfer in the world.

Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, and Woods -- the other three members of "The Big Four" -- have all been ranked first in the world at some point in their careers, but the honor has evaded Phil, one missed putt at a time.

Mickelson would only be the 13th player ranked first since the ranking system was created in 1986.

Tiger has been ranked number one for the last 258 weeks, even as he dealt with his personal (ahem) issues, but the momentum seems to be in favor of Phil, again, despite his reputation as a choke artist.

Mickelson won the Player's Championship two years ago and is coming off a win at the Masters a few weeks ago, and a second-place finish at Quaile Hollow this past weekend.

The Player's Championship starts Thursday -- we're rootin' for the hometown hero, even though we know how shaky those hands get when success is on the line.

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