Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

US Team Are Better Prepared This Time - Mickelson

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

US Team Are Better Prepared This Time - Mickelson

Article excerpt

PHIL Mickelson took another thinly-veiled swipe at former captain Tom Watson ahead of the 41st Ryder Cup, suggesting he put his team in "position to fail" at Gleneagles.

And the five-time major winner also heavily criticised 2004 captain Hal Sutton for his decision to pair Mickelson with Tiger Woods, which resulted in two defeats on the opening day of the record loss at Oakland Hills.

Mickelson caused controversy in 2014 when, within two hours of the United States suffering a third straight defeat in the biennial contest, he criticised Watson's approach in the post-event press conference.

With Watson sitting just a few feet away, Mickelson - who had been left out of a full day's play on Saturday for the first time in 10 Ryder Cup appearances - stated his support for the methods of Paul Azinger, who captained the side to their last win at Valhalla in 2008.

The 46-year-old also said none of the players were consulted on "any decision" made by Watson and the fall-out led to the creation of an 11-man "task force" to examine all aspects of the US Ryder Cup process.

Mickelson was one of the 11 and believes that has given the home side a "foundation" to build on in the same manner as the European team.

"I think that when you look back on what the difference is, when players are put in a position to succeed, more often than not, they tend to succeed," Mickelson told a press conference at Hazeltine.

"And when they are put in positions to fail, most of the time they tend to fail.

"This is a year where we feel as though captain (Davis) Love has been putting us in a position to succeed. He's taken input from all parties. He's making decisions that have allowed us to prepare our best and play our best, and I believe that we will play our best.

"Now we are playing a very strong European team and I don't know what that means resultswise, but our best golf will come out this week and that's our goal."

Paul McGinley was Watson's opposite number at Gleneagles and believes Mickelson is under the most pressure of any player this week because of his role in events.

"I can understand why he would say that," added Mickelson, who was runner-up to Henrik Stenson in the Open at Troon in July. …

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