Ryder Cup 2014: Phil Mickelson criticises team captain Tom Watson

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Phil Mickelson has hit out at American Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson after they were beaten 16.5-11.5 by Europe at Gleneagles.

It means the U.S. have now lost three successive Ryder Cups and have only won twice in the last 10 events.


Initial reaction after this most recent loss suggests discontent in the American camp with many calling for Paul Azinger to take over as captain.

Azinger led America to their last Ryder Cup victory in 2008 and Mickelson, who was making his tenth Ryder Cup appearance, compared his captaincy methods of those of Watson.

"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 in a press conference.


The 44-year old was reportedly unhappy at being left out of both the fourballs and foursomes on Saturday for the first time in his Ryder Cup history.

Mickelson continued talking about Azinger and his way of creating team spirit within the camp, something he feels Watson couldn't emulate.

"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.

"We hung out together and we were all invested in each other's play. We were invested in picking Hunter (Mahan) that week, we were invested in the process.

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."

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Revert back

Mickelson insists that the U.S. must revert back to the formula that last saw them win the Ryder Cup if they want to compete with Europe again.

"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."


When asked if his comments were being insulting to current captain Tom Watson, Mickelson replied: "Oh, I'm sorry you're taking it that way. I'm just talking about what Paul Azinger did to help us play our best," was the response.

"You asked me what I thought we should do to bring our best golf out and I'd go back to when we played our best golf and try to replicate that formula."

Mickelson also admitted that none of players were consulted in any decisions made by Watson and his staff by adding: "No, nobody here was in any decision."

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