Phil Mickelson: 'We don't litigate against each other'
Phil Mickelson fired the first broadside for the 2014 Ryder Cup by suggesting that court proceedings could impact the European team unity.
The highly publicised case involving Rory McIlroy and his former management company - which Graeme McDowell is leaving under far friendlier terms at the end of the year – has been one of the main topics of conversation this week and Mickelson didn't miss an opportunity to highlight it today.
Asked about the strength of the American team bond, he replied: “Not only do we play together, we also don’t litigate against each other.”
"That's a real plus, I feel, heading into this week," he said to roars of laughter before quickly adding: "I couldn't resist. Sorry. Go ahead."
Mickelson took another reporter to task when it was suggested his 45 percent winning record from nine previous Ryder Cup appearances was "the only blot" on an excellent resume.
"Are you always this half-empty?," replied the 44-year-old Californian to more howls of laughter. "Is that how you look at things? Because we're more optimistic here.
"It doesn't take much to improve my winning percentage, I'll say that, but I've got a good partner that obviously I'm going to play again with Keegan (Bradley).
"I don't think I'm letting go of any secrets here. We seem to have a good partnership and he brings out some of my best golf and I'm very optimistic that I can improve on my record."
McDowell revealed yesterday that the court case has made their relationship stronger, but conceded things had changed on the course.
"Our personal issues have been well documented the last couple years and I believe that we've both come out of the other end of that probably better friends than we were going into it," McDowell told his pre-event press conference.
"So our personal issues are not a problem this weekend, that's a fact.
European captain Paul McGinley has said on numerous occasions leading up to the event that he has no fears over the on-going case.
“It has not been an issue for me in terms of Ryder Cup captaincy, since these court proceedings started," he re-iterated this week.
"Both of them have assured me all along that there are no issues, and that’s always the way I’ve seen it. Whether they come together or not in the pairings is another story.
“Three or four months ago, I had a very strong view that they would have been paired together, but the more I look at their statistics, I think that there may be a value in not doing it.”
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