The New, Improved US Ryder Cup Presence: Mickelson’s Legacy?

Phil Mickelson’s comments following the US Ryder Cup team’s defeat at Gleneagles, Scotland (September 28, 2014):

“We had a great formula in ’08. I don’t know why we strayed. I don’t know why we don’t go back. What Zinger did was great. There were two things that allow us to play our best I think that Paul Azinger did, and one was he got everybody invested in the process. He got everybody invested in who they were going to play with, who the picks were going to be, who was going to be in their [practice session] pod, when they would play, and they had a great leader for each pod.

“In my case, we had Ray Floyd, and we hung out together and we were all invested in each other’s play. We were invested in picking Hunter Mahan that week; Anthony Kim and myself and Justin Leonard were in a pod, and we were involved on having Hunter be our guy to fill our pod. So we were invested in the process.

“The other thing that Paul did really well was he had a great game plan for us, you know, how we were going to go about doing this. How we were going to go about playing together; golf ball, format, what we were going to do, if so-and-so is playing well, if so-and-so is not playing well, we had a real game plan. Those two things helped us bring out our best golf.

“We all do the best that we can and we’re all trying our hardest and I’m just looking back at what gave us the most success. Because we use that same process in the Presidents Cup and we do really well. Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best. Nobody here was in any decision.”

Mickelson’s comments just prior to Ryder Cup play in 2016:

“I think that when you look back on what the difference is, when players are put in a position to succeed, oftentimes, more often than not, they tend to succeed and when they are put in positions to fail, most of the time they tend to fail. This is a year where we feel as though Captain Love has been putting us in a position to succeed. He’s taken input from all parties. He’s making decisions that have allowed us to prepare our best and play our best, and I believe that we will play our best.”

Butch Harmon’s comments following the US Ryder Cup team’s victory at Hazeltine (October 3, 2016):

“The captain forms his whole strategy and I think it took the Americans a heck of a long time to figure out that wasn’t working. They knew they needed to start preparing like the European team have been doing and that has finally happened this week.

“Tiger Woods has helped out this task force so much this week and he wears Steve Stricker out every day. I was out here with Steve when Tiger called on Monday, and he had to go out of the team room for 45 minutes just to talk about seven different pairings he had in his mind.

“He was involved with a pod which included Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed and stuck with them the whole time. He did the practice rounds with them, he ate with them and followed their matches. Love was going to stand the pair down and Tiger told his captain they will get them another point, which they went and delivered.”

Rory McIlroy’s comments at the press conference following the 2016 Ryder Cup (October 2, 2016):

“I think the great culture of the European team is…you look at Sam [Torrance] who has obviously been a Ryder Cup captain and you have guys that have been involved in the team for such a long time. And I think that’s huge. You know, I’m not trying to give anything away here, but that’s one of the big parts of our success: that we keep a core group of players and people on the team and around the team. And they’ve seen it all before. They’ve done it all before. And that’s what we plan to do in a couple of years time.”

Mickelson’s comments following the US Ryder Cup team’s victory at Hazeltine (October 2, 2016):

“The pressure started when some dumbass opened his mouth two years ago in the media center.”

I have to disagree about the “dumbass” part. And a big thank you to Phil for sticking his neck WAY out there.
— Billy

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