(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Something to play for, that’s how Phil Mickelson characterized the FedEx Cup playoffs that start Thursday in The Barclays, at Plainfield Country Club, just outside of New York City.

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Mickelson has played in 15 of the 16-playoff events, skipping the 2007 BMW Championship in the FedEx Cup inaugural year of 2007.

The other 15 events, the left-hander has missed only one cut at the 2010 Barclays and won twice at the 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship and the 2009 Tour Championship.

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(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

But the best is the $4,109,534 that Mickelson has earned, not counting the playoff bonus, that put Mickelson over $5 million in earnings.

That sure is something to play for.

“If you can win one or two of the Playoff events; if you can win the FedExCup, it changes the way you look at the year,” Mickelson said. “And I think that to have that opportunity makes it exciting, and it also extends our season another six weeks.”

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Mickelson’s attitude is exactly what Commissioner Tim Finchem and the PGA Tour were hoping for when they started the playoffs. Its taken five years to get to this point and may take a little longer to get everyone on board, but with Tiger Woods not in the playoffs, Mickelson’s opinion and actions are what’s necessary to move the needle in a football rich television environment.

Now the question is can Mickelson be a factor this week at Barclays.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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His best finish at the event was a seventh in 2007, but Mickelson has not shown the type of game coming in that would exude confidence, yet the lefty’s game is volatile and can explode at any time.

Another factor that has been a positive for Mickelson is the health issues of his wife Amy; who has been dealing with cancer and his arthritis.

“It made me aware of how much I appreciate what it is that I am able to do for a living and how much I want to work at it, because I enjoy it,” Mickelson said. “And so it’s kind of given me new motivation, and because of that, I feel I’m playing better than I ever have, and I look forward to having some of my best years.”

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Stuart Hall is editor of the Golf Press Association.