Record-breaking Mickelson blows hot and cold

Fri Sep 26, 2014 3:41pm EDT
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By Mitch Phillips

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson became the first American to play in 10 Ryder Cups on Friday and duly marked the occasion with the sort of day that sums up his long association with the competition -- won one, lost one.

Before this week the five-times major champion had been on the beaten side seven times in nine Cups, winning 14 matches, but losing an American record 18, including five in singles.

That record now reads 15 and 19 after a day when Mickelson struggled to find his best game but, typically, hung in there.

Captain Tom Watson had no hesitation in pairing him with Keegan Bradley after the two gelled so well two years ago, winning all three of their matches together.

They were lined up against Europe's strongest team in Friday morning's final fourball match - world number one Rory McIlroy and number three Sergio Garcia - but the contest lacked star quality.

Holes were won with pars -- an unusual occurrence in Ryder Cup fourballs at any time, particularly with the pedigree of this group -- but that merely added to the growing tension.

Mickelson had missed a tiny putt on the 15th to gift Europe a one-shot lead, only for Bradley to eagle the 16th after a stupendous second and level up.

By the time the players halved the 17th, it was the only live match remaining and seemingly every one of the 40,000-plus fans in Gleneagles were doing their best to follow it up the last, where the four players zig-zagged their way from rough to bunker down the 513-yard par-five.   Continued...

U.S. Ryder Cup player Phil Mickelson chips onto the 18th green during his fourballs 40th Ryder Cup match at Gleneagles in Scotland September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne