Now that was ugly. No, not the thrashing the Europeans gave to the Americans at the Ryder Cup. That was a strong performance by the defending champions, but it was more or less expected. They came in as favourites and delivered. The ugly part was what came after, when Phil Mickelson threw a string of verbal Molotov cocktails into the smoking wreckage of the U.S. team. Lefty, reportedly still pouting after being sent to the bench for all of Saturday, used the final press conference to push Tom Watson off the edge of the cliff, saying his system didnt work and that players werent consulted. At the very least, this wasnt a stab in the back. Mickelson lobbed his bombs while sitting at the same table as Watson. If you ever wondered why the Americans have trouble pulling together to win one of these things, Exhibit A is now up for viewing. Yes, he was answering questions, but it was a classless, heartless move by Mickelson, against a guy who merely tried to find a way to get 12 players who were underperforming to win points. Watson took the high road in response, as did Jim Furyk, when he was asked his opinion. Mickelson should have done the same, and got on his plane and headed home. Alone. Ryder Cups arent won by the captains; theyre won by the players and the Americans simply stunk as a whole. Perhaps there were a few things Watson could have done differently. He might have sat Mickelson and Keegan Bradley on Friday afternoon, then brought them back on Saturday for one or two sessions. Or he might have asked the golfers who they wanted as a partner, although it seemed the pairings went pretty much to form. No, the real reason the Americans lost is because they were awful. Bubba Watson went 0-3. Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk both went 1-3. Zach Johnson managed a half-point. Rickie Fowler, in two Ryder Cups, is still looking for his first win. No pod system is going to make putts for you or help you hit fairways. Even if you get the team invested, you still have to play stunning golf to beat Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose. What Mickelsons comments do is turn what could have been a graceful defeat into an ugly ending. They fan the flames of a lack of team atmosphere, about discussions of dissension or, at the very least, individualism rather than cohesiveness. All that fun on the ping-pong table in the team room now seems rather shallow. Perhaps Tom Watson wasnt the right choice as captain and maybe his style wasnt right. But to carve him up in front of the press – including those genteel tabloid types of the U.K. – was simply not right. I know one thing for certain: I wouldnt want Phil Mickelson as my captain down the road. John Tavares Jersey
. Anything less than gold for either nation is considered a disappointment. Yet for Switzerland, advancing to the semifinal might be a victory in itself. Pat LaFontaine Jersey
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