Phil Mickelson Blames 'Unplayable' Course for Brutal Ryder Cup Showing

Leading up to the Ryder Cup, Phil Mickelson revealed that this was likely his last Ryder Cup as a player.

Now 48, Mickelson has just one victory on the PGA Tour over the last five years and knows his days as a top player are numbered.

Thus, Mickelson was extremely disappointed with the United States’ team performance at the Ryder Cup, as well as his individual performance. He lost his only two matches, including the decisive singles match that clinched the Cup for Team Europe.

Mickelson talked about his Ryder Cup struggles while competing at the Safeway Open in Napa, California — the first event of the 2018-19 PGA season.

“The Europeans did a great thing, they did the opposite of what we do when we have the Ryder Cup here [in the United States],” Mickelson said. “The fairways were 14 to 16 yards wide. Ben Hogan, who is the greatest ball-striker of all time, had a five percent margin of error. So if you hit the ball 300 yards, which we all hit it more than that, you need to have a 30-yard wide fairway to be able to hit it.

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“The fact is they had brutal rough, almost unplayable, and it’s not the way I play. I don’t play like that. And here I can miss the fairways, I can get shots out of the rough up on the green and it’s playable.”

Mickelson was one of four captain’s picks alongside Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau. He and DeChambeau were defeated 5 & 4 by the team of Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren.

In Mickelson’s lone singles match against Francesco Molinari, he was three holes down when he found water on the 16th hole. Mickelson then conceded the hole and match to Molinari as Team Europe claimed the Cup for the fourth time in the last five tournaments.

Mickelson admitted that at this point in his career, he’s going to avoid playing events with a thick rough like the Ryder Cup.

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“And I’m 48. I’m not going to play tournaments with rough like that anymore, it’s a waste of my time,” he said. “I’m going to play courses that are playable and that I can play aggressive, attacking, make a lot of birdies, style of golf I like to play.”

Mickelson’s comments on the Ryder Cup continue the turmoil surrounding Team USA’s performance in the event.

Masters winner Patrick Reed called out captain Jim Furyk for benching him twice during the competition and also spoke out about not being paired with Jordan Spieth.

“The issue’s obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me,” Reed said. “I don’t have any issue with Jordan. When it comes right down to it, I don’t care if I like the person I’m paired with or if the person likes me as long as it works and it sets up the team for success. He and I know how to make each other better. We know how to get the job done.”

There were also reports of not one, but two altercations between Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, who are reportedly friends.

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The first came during the team’s flight to the Ryder Cup, and the second came during the event’s after-party.

Mickelson downplayed the drama of Team USA and said the camaraderie was among the best he’d ever seen.

“We had one of the best weeks as far as teammates, as far as working together, camaraderie. We had an awesome week,” Mickelson said. “I don’t know what to say because I didn’t see any of that stuff happen. I only saw one of the best weeks and team unities that we’ve had in a long time.”

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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