Phil Mickelson took a jab at Captain Tom Watson in the Sunday evening press conference at Gleneagles.

With the latest loss to the Europeans on Sunday at Gleneagles, the U.S. has lost eight of 10 Ryder Cups since 1995 and the last three consecutively.

If you were listening closely on Sunday evening in the post Ryder Cup press conference, Phil Mickelson explained to the whole world why the Americans cannot win the Ryder Cup.

In his remarks, he took a backhanded slap at Captain Tom Watson by referring to the masterful job Paul Azinger did captaining the winning 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

He said the U.S. has gone astray from the winning combination and the players were not consulted on anything for this Ryder Cup.

He basically accused Tom Watson of being a tyrant, out of touch with his players, who ran the American Ryder Cup team with an iron fist and alienated the players.

It was all a bit of sour grapes on Mr. Mickelson’s part, I’m afraid. He was still smarting from being on yet another losing team and Watson holding him out of both the four-ball and foursome sessions on Saturday.

This is exactly the difference between the Europeans and the Americans, and why the Europeans are successful while Team USA keeps losing.

The American players feel a sense of entitlement. They play on the big tour, they win the $1 million checks, and have the multi-million dollar sponsorship deals.

Tom Watson listened while Phil Mickelson extolled the captaining virtues of Paul Azinger in 2008.

The one thing that professional athletes fear most is being embarrassed. Phil Mickelson was embarrassed on Saturday when Watson held him out of both sessions and didn’t allow him to hit a single shot.

Rather than have an appreciation for the fact that he is just one member of the team and the captain was doing what he felt was in the best interest of the team, Mickelson took it as an affront to his image.

The fact that Mickelson would even question Captain Watson’s decision in that situation with media from all parts of the world assembled is appalling. His actions speak to his lack of restraint and an arrogance that does not fit in a team environment.

Professional golfers from America feel a sense of entitlement and are accustomed to playing as individuals. They toil on the practice ranges, putting greens and fairways all alone. Except for high school and college teams, most of the golfers from the U.S. do not play team golf. In addition, they were the best players on their high school and collegiate teams and were accorded more respect from their coaches.

When junior golfers in the United States learn to play the game putting that 10-footer on the practice green, they imagine needing it to win the Masters, the U.S. Open, The PGA Championship, The Players or the Open Championship at St. Andrews. They rarely consider holing the winning putt for the American team in the Ryder Cup.

European children place the Ryder Cup right up there with the Open Championship’s Claret Jug on their list of majors. To Scottish, English, Spanish, French, Irish and Danish kids the Ryder Cup is the cherished prize.

The European team just wants to win and every player is willing to do his part to help the team achieve that goal.

Every American player is trying not to embarrass himself. They become more concerned about not looking bad rather than the real purpose of the competition, win Samuel Ryder’s Cup.

Phil Mickelson was embarrassed and he felt Captain Tom Watson was the cause of that embarrassment.

The fact is that Phil Mickelson did not play well in 2014. He only had one top-10 finish all year on the PGA Tour and had not improved in the weeks leading up to the Ryder Cup.

He and his partner Keegan Bradley did scratch out a win in their four-ball on Friday morning when Bradley made a clutch birdie at No. 17 and Mickelson made birdie at the last to win the point, but both golfers were spraying the ball all over the park and were lucky to even be in the match.

They weren’t so lucky in the afternoon losing 3&2 to Victor Dubuisson and Graeme McDowell in foursomes, plus Mickelson looked tired and defeated.

Captain Paul McGinley celebrates with his European Ryder Cup Team.

Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler looked like the only players on the U.S. team playing with conviction and enthusiasm.

Watson was looking for the spark and winning attitude that he didn’t see it in Mickelson and Bradley.

The media will rehash and argue the real problems with the American Ryder Cup teams over the past twenty years, but the fact is the U.S. players are afraid of looking bad rather than playing to win.

Their feeling of entitlement does not allow them to fully accept the team concept.

The Europeans are not that much better, they just accept their roles and play to win. If they lose, so be it. Their attitude is let’s all play our arse off, have a laugh, a pint, or two, or three, and get on with life.

That is the secret ingredient that has been missing from the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

 

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Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth were bright spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

The U.S. Ryder Cup team failed once again to beat the Europeans in Ryder Cup action. The lopsided 16 ½-11 ½ win gives Europe its eighth victory in the last ten Ryder Cups.

Captain Tom Watson’s team had three Ryder Cup rookies on the team that traveled to Gleneagles in Scotland. Twenty-one-year-old Jordan Spieth was the youngest competitor ever in Ryder Cup history and Patrick Reed is just 24 years old. The third rookie Jimmy Walker is 35 years old.

Reed was the leading point earner for Team USA with a 3-0-1 record. Spieth lost his singles match on Sunday, but ended with a 2-1-1 record. Walker played very solid in four-ball and foursomes teamed with Fowler and finished with a 1-1-3 record.

The three rookies accounted for more than one-half (6) of the total 11 ½ points garnered by the U.S. team.

Rickie Fowler (0-2-3) played well in all five matches, but only had three halves to show for his efforts. At 25 years old is also another young American, who along with Reed and Spieth, should provide a solid nucleus for future Ryder Cup teams.

Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler played well but only earned three half points in the team format.

The veteran players, Bubba Watson (0-3), Phil Mickelson (2-1-0) Zach Johnson (0-2-1), Jim Furyk (1-3-0), Matt Kuchar (1-3-0), Webb Simpson (0-1-1), Hunter Mahan (1-2-1) and Keegan Bradley (1-2-0) failed to deliver for the American team. Combined they only factored in 5 ½ points for the team.

Captain Watson chose Bradley, Mahan and Simpson as captain’s picks to fill out the 12-man U.S. team.

After playing poorly on Friday afternoon with Mickelson in foursomes, Bradley and Mickelson did not play in either session on Saturday. Bradley also lost to European Ryder Cup rookie Jamie Donaldson in his singles match on Sunday.

Mahan managed a full point when paired with Furyk on Saturday morning in their four-ball match with Lee Westwood and Jamie Donaldson. He had built a 4-up lead over Justin Rose in singles, but Rose came back to eventually win 1-up on the final hole.

Simpson was picked to partner with Bubba Watson and after they lost their four-ball match on Friday morning, Captain Watson benched Simpson and he did not play until forcing a tie in his singles match with Ian Poulter on Sunday.

Hopefully the loss will not leave a lasting scar and only provide more impetus for these young players when the Ryder Cup next visits Hazeltine Country Club in Chaska, Minnesota in 2016.

 

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