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Mickelson calls out Watson's style as captain

Published:Monday | September 29, 2014 | 12:00 AM

GLENEAGLES, Scotland (AP): United States captain Tom Watson suffered a pair of defeats Sunday in the Ryder Cup - first from the Europeans, and then from Phil Mickelson.

In a subtle dig at Watson's leadership style, Mickelson said the Americans have strayed from the formula that Paul Azinger brought to the 2008 team at Valhalla, the only time since 1999 the Americans have won the Ryder Cup.

"We all do the best that we can, and we're all trying our hardest," Mickelson said. "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."

leadership challenge

The Americans were not at their best at Gleneagles in a 161/2-111/2 loss to Europe, which now has won eight of the last 10 times.

Mickelson spoke with Watson, sitting just six seats away from him, with an empty stare, while no one rose to his defence. He effectively was calling out Watson's leadership, which was more single-minded that Azinger in 2008, or even Davis Love III two years ago at Medinah.

Azinger introduced a 'pod' system at Valhalla, and later wrote a book on his philosophy. He broke the qualifiers into three groups and let them choose who would be the captain's pick for each pod. They ate together, stayed in the same groups, played together as teams, and were next to each other in the line-ups.

"I had a different philosophy, as far as being a captain of this team," Watson replied. "It takes 12 players to win. It's not pods. It's 12 players. Yes, I did talk to the players, but my vice-captains were very instrumental in making decisions as to whom to pair with. I had a different philosophy than Paul. I decided not to go that way."

"The bottom line," Watson said, "is they kicked our butts."