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Mickelson 'deserves Hall of Fame slot'

updated 5:10 AM EDT, Tue May 8, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Phil Mickelson is inducted into golf's Hall of Fame on Monday
  • 'Lefty' has won four major titles and 40 PGA Tour crowns in his 20-year career
  • Mickelson has never held the world No. 1 ranking largely due to Tiger Woods' dominance
  • Golf expert David Dusek says Mickelson is one of the best players of his generation

(CNN) -- There is much debate in the world of golf as to whether four-time major winner Phil Mickelson deserves his place in the game's Hall of Fame, but journalist David Dusek is in no doubt.

The deputy editor of Golf.com has told CNN World Sport there should be no doubt Mickelson's pedigree befits the accolade, calling the 41-year-old one of the best players of his generation.

There has been criticism in some quarters that given his age, Mickelson is too young to take his place in the pantheon of greats who have graced the sport despite a 20-year top-level career.

Others have pointed to the fact that, incredibly, he has never held the top spot in golf's world rankings.

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But Dusek disagrees and thinks the player -- known affectionately by fans as "Lefty" -- still has a few major championships left in the tank.

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"Phil absolutely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He's one of the great players of his generation," Dusek said ahead of Mickelson's induction on Monday.

"He won four major championships in the era when one guy, namely Tiger Woods, won 14 of them. He was well seated at number two in the world for a quite a while.

"The fact that he has been a stalwart of eight Ryder Cup teams, eight Presidents Cup teams, he has 40 (PGA Tour) wins -- all these numbers are Hall of Fame-worthy material."

The debate over Mickelson's worthiness will be replicated in the coming years, according to Dusek, given that Woods reigned supreme over the game for such a long period.

"Tiger has skewed things quite a bit," he said. "If Tiger Woods wasn't there Phil and many other players, like Ernie Els, would have won more titles.

Phil absolutely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He's one of the great players of his generation
David Dusek

"We're going to run into several players now that will be Hall of Fame candidates in the next few years who were not number one in the world.

"Phil Mickelson is one of the first ones. If you look at the body of work for someone like Mickelson, he definitely gets in. The question mark will come soon. What happens with a player like Jim Furyk or Colin Montgomerie?

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"You're going to have to take into consideration that attaining the world number one ranking from the late 1990s through the late 2000s was going to be very difficult for anyone to do, yet they could be a fantastic golfer and Mickelson fits the bill."

Mickelson was in contention to win a fourth Masters title at Augusta last month, but fell short after a disappointing final round. However, he can still boast one PGA Tour victory this season -- at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am back in February.

Dusek believes Mickelson still has the game to challenge for more titles -- and more majors.

"Mickelson showed on the PGA Tour (at Pebble Beach) that he is capable of playing fantastic golf," he said.

"The fact his putting has been much, much better this season than it has been for a few seasons is a great sign and certainly when he gets back to Augusta next year he could easily go for a fourth Masters. He could have won this year.

"I would not be the least bit surprised if Phil Mickelson wins another major title, possibly a few more."

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