Golf

Tom Watson hits back at Phil Mickelson after Ryder Cup defeat

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American Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson has hit back at Phil Mickelson after comments made following USA's 16.5-11.5 defeat to Europe in the Ryder Cup.

After the loss, Mickelson spoke about former captain Paul Azinger and praised his captaincy skills comparing them to Watson's.

Azinger led USA to their last Ryder Cup victory in Kentucky in 2008 and there have been early calls to re-install him as captain.

Difference of opinions

But Watson feels Mickelson's comments aren't justified and has simply put their disagreement down to a difference of opinions.

"The issue between Phil and myself is basically a difference of opinion.

"He has a difference of opinion where he would like to manage the team and I certainly had my own opinion on how I'd manage the team," Watson told Sky Sports.

Potential unfulfilled

Watson didn't believe that any of his decisions cost America the Ryder Cup but admitted that his players didn't play to their potential against a strong European team.

"That's the controversy and that's the issue but I have to say that I'm very proud of my team's efforts. One thing I asked them to do from the beginning was to give absolutely everything they have and they did. They just ran up against a buzz saw.

"The European team was very strong and had four of the top five players in the world. When you play against them, you better be firing on all cylinders and frankly, we weren't so that's it."

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American Hunter Mahan attempted to play down any potential rift between Mickelson and Watson by insisting that everyone is just frustrated at the outcome.

"I don't think there's a spat. I think there are two strong-willed guys who want to win.

Hindsight is 20-20 and you never know what's going to happen. Both guys worked hard this week and everyone's frustrated we didn't get the win.

"It still stings. It's still tough. We came here on a mission to try and get the Ryder Cup back this week. We weren't able to do this but we grew closer together as a team.

"We're just trying to lick our wounds right now. Hopefully we can get something out of this week and do better. Europe have kicked our butts the last few times and they've got a good formula. We've got to find a way to make it happen."

War of words

Phil Mickelson had originally started a potential war of words by praising Azinger's captaincy methods immediately after USA's Ryder Cup defeat suggesting he was campaigning for his return as skipper.

"There were two things that allowed us to play our best that Paul Azinger did: one was he got everybody invested in the process," said Mickelson.

"He got everybody invested in who they were going to play with, who the picks were going to be, who was going to be in their pod, when they would play, and they had a great leader for each pod.

Game plan

"The other thing that Paul did really well was he had a great game-plan for us; how we were going to go about doing this, how we were going to go about playing together, if so-and-so is playing well, if so-and-so is not playing well - we had a real game-plan.

"Those two things helped us bring out our best golf. We use that same process in the Presidents Cup and we do really well.

"Unfortunately we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best."

Asked whether he was consulted in any of the decision-making, Mickelson added: "No. Nobody here was, in any decision."

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Topics:
PGA Tour
Ryder Cup
Phil Mickleson
Golf

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