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Phil Mickelson not impressed by four-in-a-row season ending tournaments

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Phil Mickelson has appeared in every Ryder Cup since making his debut in 1995 and is proud to have qualified automatically all nine times, but may need a wildcard to make this year's team. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson has appeared in every Ryder Cup since making his debut in 1995 and is proud to have qualified automatically all nine times, but may need a wildcard to make this year's team. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Getty Images

Phil Mickelson has appeared in every Ryder Cup since making his debut in 1995 and is proud to have qualified automatically all nine times, but may need a wildcard to make this year's team. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson may not like the idea, but playing four season-ending tournaments in a row seems to be all the rage elsewhere.

The European Tour took inspiration from the FedEx Cup play-offs on the PGA Tour when they introduced the Final Series in 2013, a run of four events culminating in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

And now they have announced the same concept will be used on the second-tier Challenge Tour this year, rather unimaginatively called the Final Swing.

The tournaments will play a massive part in determining the top 15 in the rankings who will graduate to the European Tour in 2015, with the final three offering increased world ranking points as well.

The first event is the inaugural Shankai Classic from Oct 16-19, before the second leg of a Chinese double is completed with the return of the Foshan Open the following week.

The National Bank of Oman Golf Classic follows the fortnight in China with the top 45 in the rankings then contesting the Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final.

The sums of money on offer are dwarfed by those being played for in the FedEx Cup play-offs, with a 10million US dollars (£6.2million) bonus on offer to the player who wins the overall title.

That money was effectively out of Mickelson's reach after the opening two rounds of the BMW Championship last week, with the five-time major winner languishing 14 shots off the lead and needing a top-four finish to qualify for the Tour Championship.

However, that was no excuse for him to withdraw late on Friday evening, citing the need to rest and prepare for the Ryder Cup.

Mickelson made no secret of the fact that he did not like the four play-off events being played back-to-back, with the usual week off in between the third and fourth tournaments sacrificed this year at the request of Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson.

Watson hopes he will reap the benefit of now having that week off before he and his team travel to Gleneagles, where they will attempt to win the biennial contest for the first time on European soil since he was last captain in 1993.

And coincidentally, he is likely to pair Mickelson with another player who withdrew from the BMW Championship, but emerged with much more credit.

Keegan Bradley withdrew before starting his third round due to a possible rules violation on the opening day, which occurred when his third shot to the 18th hole came up short of the green, embedding in the steep grass face just above a bunker.

The former US PGA champion took relief (under Rule 25-2) for a ball embedded in its own pitch mark, chipped onto the green and two-putted for a double-bogey six.

However, after the round a spectator told Bradley he had seen the ball bounce before coming to rest, leaving the Ryder Cup wild card uncertain that he had handled the situation correctly.

Although Bradley was cleared of any wrongdoing after consulting rules officials, he said the issue was "eating me alive" and felt compelled to withdraw.

By doing so, he dropped from 28th in the standings to 33rd, thereby missing the Tour Championship and his shot at the prize money.

Mickelson and Bradley won all three of their matches together at Medinah in 2012, but for once 'Phil the Thrill' may not receive the biggest cheer on the first tee at Gleneagles.

PA Media