GLENEAGLES: Phil Mickelson’s scathing criticism of United States Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson sparked a firestorm of reaction on Sunday with former European skippers Colin Montgomerie and Nick Faldo saying the American was out of line.
Former PGA Tour player Brandel Chamblee, who now works as a golf analyst for Golf Channel, went even further, describing Mickelson as a golfer who had “corrupted the experience of the Ryder Cup”.
Shortly after the US had slipped to yet another Ryder Cup defeat by Europe on Sunday, Mickelson told a news conference his captain had not engaged with the players and should have stuck with the system that worked so successfully in 2008.
Both Montgomerie and Faldo responded by saying that Mickelson, a former world number two, should have kept his thoughts to himself.
“Should we go into this one hour after we’ve been defeated? The answer is a flat no,” Montgomerie, who captained Europe to Ryder Cup victory at Celtic Manor in 2010, said on Golf Channel.
“You support your captain under all circumstances. In public, you respect and honour your captain.
“The PGA of America selected Tom Watson as the best choice to try to win the Ryder Cup back. Unfortunately, the team didn’t perform for Tom.”
“That should have been a private conversation,” said Faldo. “Phil certainly doesn’t respect Tom Watson. He threw his captain right under the bus.”
Mickelson, who has now lost eight of his 10 Ryder Cups, was a frustrated figure during the US team’s news conference at Gleneagles while he praised the successful strategy adopted by Azinger in 2008.
“Paul Azinger got everybody invested in the process,” said Mickelson. “We use that same process in the President’s Cup and we do really well.
“Unfortunately, we have strayed from that for the last three Ryder Cups and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best.”
Chamblee immediately piled the criticism upon Mickelson.
“That was as close to a one-man mutiny as I ever seen,” Chamblee said on Golf Channel. “I think that’s a moment that Phil would like to have back. If you are looking for a reason why the United States continues to lose, you just saw it, you saw it in one man — Phil Mickelson.
“Phil Mickelson, along with the best players of that era, have so corrupted the experience of the Ryder Cup for their fellow competitors by not having records anywhere near what they should, given their rank in the game and what they’ve achieved.” Reuters