Last week I said to myself “steady on” because I found myself agreeing with one of Mickelson’s moans. He complained that the course at East Lake where the Tour Championship was being played was not set up as proper preparation for this week’s Ryder Cup.
Such agreement only lasted a week, because here we are again, another attention seeking tirade this week, this time about 2004 US Ryder Cup Captain Hal Sutton, see the conference below.
Talking about how his own pairing with Tiger Woods was a “monumental fail”did not go down well. Although his explanation of how the pairing affected him as a player was interesting. He didnt focus on the fact that they dint get on, he put it in terms thta they play different ball compressions, Tiger with a high spin, he with a low spin, and to play foursomes he had to take a couple of days out of his own preparations in order to learn how to play this ball and try and make this work. Any top level player would have been annoyed by that but Mickelson’s anoyance wasnt dealt with at the time by trying to oersuade the captain to change the pairing, i stead it was stored up to use as an example of how not to captain and spoken to the press 12 years on.
This afternoon Sutton responded to this while playing in the Captain’s Challenge. He said famously
“I just felt like the world of golf would be a better place if Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson got on and became friends”.
Former captain Curtis Strange said he had wanted to put them together, but only Hal had the guts to actually do it”. Sutton said “D’you think I had anything to do with how poorly he played? He let the whole side down”
Bizarrely, Mickelson back tracked today and issued an apology, this is most unusual. “I am so so sorry I feel awful” he said “It was just meant to be an example of how a captain can have a strong effect on a team. Unfortunately it came across the way it did, I was totally in the wrong, I never should have done that because it affected Hal”. I made him feel awkward.I never should have used him as a soecific example I put him totally on the spot. I never should have done that I put him in an awkward situation.
He then rattled off the names of several past captains – Corey Pavin, Tom Lehman, Lanny Wadkins and said the team were creating a family feel – notably he didnt mention Tom Watson, a past captain he was also very forthright in his criticism of. See this 2014 criticism:
He ended with I created negativity and Im so so sorry.
Sounds like there was team pressure on him to apologise which there wouldnt have been any other week. It’s got him the attention, positive or negative, and the bit of drama that he thrives on.
What a captain he’s going to make. Let’s hope it will be soon, what larks it will be.
The 2016 criticism