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Team USA's Ryder Cup Turned Sour Long Before Mickelson's Press Conference

Gary Reilly
By Gary Reilly
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Phil Mickelson may have taken the majority of the flack after his sensational press conference last weekend. However, if reports emanating from the US are to be believed, the mood around Team USA's camp was at breaking point before Sunday's singles matches had even been played.

ESPN are reporting that a team bonding session following Saturday's foursomes went south when team captain Tom Watson 'took no responsibility for any shortcomings, scoffed at a gift that the U.S. team members gave him, ridiculed several European team players and started the proceedings by denigrating the Americans' play that afternoon.'


The US sports network are quoting 'four sources who witnessed the proceedings in the U.S. team room'. According to them the team meeting at Gleneagles was supposed to act as a bonding experience yet it was anything but.

You could have heard a pin drop in that room. He was pissed [angry, not drunk]. It all went from there.

Watson is said to have begun the meeting with the less than rousing opening line, 'you stink at foursomes'. From there he praised Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed before turning his attention to Sunday's singles and denigrating a number of members of the European squad.

After that Watson was presented with a replica Ryder Cup as a gift from the players which he is said to have indicated that 'the gift meant nothing to him if the players didn't get the real Ryder Cup on Sunday.'


To be fair, if you take away the spin, none of that seems particularly surprising. Downplaying the European players ability is a common tactic, while the replica Ryder Cup seems an odd thing to gift the captain on Saturday.

Nevertheless, it does create a certain degree of background to Mickelson's comments. According to ESPN's sources, Mickelson acted as a counterpoint to Watson's management style in the aftermath of that bonding session.

Phil went player by player and told a story about each one. It changed the tenor of the room from completely negative and heads down to 'Let's give this a go tomorrow.' He gave almost 180 degrees difference than what Tom did.


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