- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 3, 2013

NORTON, MASS. (AP) - This was one of those moments when Jordan Spieth knew he had arrived.

It wasn’t earning a PGA Tour card after starting the season without belonging to any tour. Not his win at the John Deere Classic. Not getting into the Tour Championship. Not even his birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle finish for a 62, by four shots the best score of the final round at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

It was an invitation from Phil Mickelson.

Lefty had just spent five hours on the TPC Boston with Spieth, who beat him by nine shots on this Labor Day. Moments after the 20-year-old Texan signed his card, Mickelson was making arrangements for the rookie to join one of his money games next week at Conway Farms north of Chicago, the next stop on Spieth’s amazing ride.

Mickelson has been playing these money games as long as he’s been on tour, but only in the last couple of years has he been inviting younger Americans _ Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler _ who he believes will become regulars in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. It’s the ultimate show of respect.

The question is whether Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples feels the same way when he makes his picks Wednesday.

“He’s got a 50-50 chance,” Couples said Monday night.

Spieth finished No. 22 in the standings, which are based over two years. He turned pro only about nine months ago. If only this year had counted, he would have qualified for the team. That’s why he seems like such a logical captain’s choice.

But it’s not that simple for Couples.

The U.S. captain said Spieth is on his short list. The others are Johnson, Jim Furyk and Webb Simpson, who was bumped out of the top 10 on the final hole of the final qualifying tournament when Zach Johnson made a 25-foot birdie.

Spieth couldn’t have qualified even if he had won Boston, though he looked at last week as his final audition.

Did Couples see it that way?

Jordan, knowing what he had to do, really played very solid,” Couples said. “He’s showed a lot of character and he’s had a great year, there’s no doubt.”

Less than a year ago, Spieth was still at Texas and crashed out of the second stage of Q-school as an amateur. He turned pro anyway, with hopes of somehow getting into the Web.com Finals, which are going on concurrently with the FedEx Cup for guys trying to get a PGA Tour card for next year.

The Presidents Cup?

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