Mickelson's cheeky jibe at McIlroy and McDowell

Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:09pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - A relaxed Phil Mickelson had his audience rolling in the aisles on Wednesday as he discussed a variety of Ryder Cup topics including an issue involving European team mates Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.

The man described by captain Tom Watson as the U.S. team's cheerleader, the five-times major winner could not resist a cheeky jibe at McIlroy who is in the middle of a legal row with former management group Horizon, a camp that McDowell still belongs to.

Asked by a reporter about the U.S. team's supposed inability to gel as a unit after winning only two of the last nine Ryder Cups, Mickelson replied: "Well, not only are we able to play together, we also don't litigate against each other.

"That's a real plus, I feel, heading into this week," he said to roars of laughter before quickly adding: "I couldn't resist. Sorry. Go ahead."

Mickelson took another reporter to task when it was suggested his 45 percent winning record from nine previous Ryder Cup appearances was "the only blot" on an excellent resume.

"Are you always this half-empty?," replied the 44-year-old Californian to more howls of laughter. "Is that how you look at things? Because we're more optimistic here.

"It doesn't take much to improve my winning percentage, I'll say that, but I've got a good partner that obviously I'm going to play again with Keegan (Bradley).

"I don't think I'm letting go of any secrets here. We seem to have a good partnership and he brings out some of my best golf and I'm very optimistic that I can improve on my record."   Continued...

U.S. Ryder Cup player Phil Mickelson (L) speaks with teammate Keegan Bradley on the 15th green during practice ahead of the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland September 23, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville