Monday 18 December 2017

US media reaction to Ryder Cup defeat: Phil Mickelson guilty of graceless mutiny

Phil Mickelson of the United States speaks during press conference after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles
Phil Mickelson of the United States speaks during press conference after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles

Tom Allnutt

After an eighth Ryder Cup loss in 10 meetings, the American media were divided over what was behind their latest defeat and split over whether Phil Mickelson was right to publicly question the leadership of captain Tom Watson.

Here, we look at how the US media reacted to Europe's victory at Gleneagles.

- David Wharton from the Los Angeles Times wrote the European players just had too much quality for the Americans: "In the weeks before the 2014 Ryder Cup, much was made of the fact that four of the top six ranked players in the world were Europeans.

"As it turned out, all that star power made a difference."

- Christopher Clarey of the New York Times agreed: "It has become a rite of autumn: European golfers sinking putts, and Americans, and then showering one another with compliments and champagne."

- It is that camaraderie that the USA are unable to match, wrote Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press. "No team embodies togetherness quite like Europe...The Americans still can't figure out this exhibition of team play."

- ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski admitted Europe have been better in all aspects of the competition for a long time: "You don't win eight out of 10 by luck. You win it because your team adapts better, plays better, steps on necks better".

Wojciechowski added, however, that Watson's captaincy was also at fault: "Watson didn't lose this Ryder Cup by himself, but his 2014 captaincy leaves no fingerprints, no legacy. He came, he saw, he lost. Mickelson's comments only accentuated the defeat."

- Watson's mistakes were more decisive than that, argued Hank Gola in the New York Daily News. In "the most fractious loser's press conference ever", it was telling that none of the other players came to the USA captain's defence.

"Watson, in his efforts not to be a players' coach, ended up being too detached. Bottom line was he was outcoached by Paul McGinley."

- McGinley's personable management style was certainly in stark contrast to Watson's, wrote Steve DiMeglio in USA Today. "The thinking was Watson's straight-forward, old-school approach would overcome the generational gap with his younger players...Watson's ways, however, didn't translate to victory."

- Mickelson's comments were just a self-motivated response to being dropped and "a graceless mutiny", said Fox Sports' Robert Lusetich.

He should had have more respect for his skipper, "a legend of the game who was the last to lead the United States to a Ryder Cup victory on European soil, 21 years ago".

- Karen Crouse from the New York Times agreed, arguing that even if there was some truth in Mickelson's analysis, "what happens in the team room, stays in the team room."

- Ultimately, it is a shame the stories will be about Mickelson's criticism and Watson's mistakes rather than Europe's brilliant victory, wrote Ann Liguori in CBS New York: "Europe prevailed with great play. But sadly, the decision to sit Mickelson and his response may sum up this year's Ryder Cup for the American audiences who are listening."

- There's only one way to mend the situation - the USA should bring back the captain Mickelson was praising and the captain who last won the Ryder Cup - Paul Azinger, DiMeglio continued in USA Today.

- Azinger would be the obvious choice, ESPN's Wojciechowski agreed, but he may want to remain a "one-and-done captain". If that is the case, Fred Couples should be next on the list "or how about a total out-of-the-box candidate: Mickelson?"

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport