Casey played alongside Mickelson in the final round of the US PGA Championship at Bethpage yesterday and experienced first-hand how popular the five-time major winner is with the raucous New York crowds.
“The crowd were amazing,” Casey said after a closing 69. “He [Mickelson] gets nothing but positive reception around here and I got a lot of that off the back of him, which was great. In 2024, I would get none of that.
“The 17th tee was quite raucous and we’re off five, six hours before the leaders are going to go off. I can’t imagine what a Ryder Cup will be like around here.
“I think it would be intimidating, no doubt. It’s like a 13th man for the US team, a big advantage.”
Asked if the PGA of America should appoint Mickelson as captain when the time comes, Casey, pictured, added: “Yes.
“I think Phil has a big impact being on home soil if he were to be a captain. I talked to him. He’s trying to play. He could be a playing captain.”
Mickelson insisted he has not thought about being captain in five years’ time, although he did call for the Ryder Cup to be staged at Bethpage following the 2009 US Open at the same venue.
“I haven’t looked that far down the road, I just know that the crowds here are going to provide such a great home-course advantage and I’m excited that the PGA of America made that decision and the people here are part of this,” Mickelson said.
“You look at the way it is for a PGA Championship. You can only imagine what’s it going to be like for a Ryder Cup.
“I can’t wait to see it, whether I’m watching it, a part of it or whatever. I think it’s such a great venue. I love coming out here because the people here make it so special.”
Casey saved his best until last at Bethpage with a final round of 69 leaving him on five over par, 17 shots behind runaway leader Brooks Koepka, who took a tournament-record seven-shot lead into the last day.
After a tough week, Casey said: “There’s a dog beside the 18th green with a little jacket on that says ‘Emotional Support Dog’ which is what I feel like I need after playing that golf course. It’s so difficult.
“Its reputation is true, plain and simple. This place exaggerates any error that you make. It just gets to the point where you’re just trying to get out of here.”
The best score from the early starters was a 68 from American Beau Hossler, with Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell having to settle for a 70 after covering the front nine in 33.
“My game feels good, it really does,” said McDowell, who will return to the scene of his 2010 US Open triumph next month when the championship returns to Pebble Beach. “I’m trying not to get too destroyed by this golf course.
“This is not a golf course that I would pick for me in a major championship and Pebble Beach is a golf course that I would pick for me.
“I’m feeling a bit bruised and battered but I have to say, the game is OK.”