Mistakes were mine, says U.S. Cup captain Watson

Sat Oct 4, 2014 7:12pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - Tom Watson, heavily criticized for his allegedly detached approach in captaining the United States in its Ryder Cup defeat last month, has written an open letter in which he takes "full responsibility" for any mistakes made.

Watson, whose strategy was implicitly slammed by Cup veteran Phil Mickelson after the Americans had slipped to their eighth loss to Europe in 10 meetings, also praised his team for the "guts" they displayed in the last-day singles.

Though Watson did not address what had happened in a reportedly "ugly" U.S. team room on the eve of the concluding singles matches, he said that any miscommunication was entirely his fault.

"First, I take complete and full responsibility for my communication, and I regret that my words may have made the players feel that I didn't appreciate their commitment and dedication to winning the Ryder Cup," Watson wrote.

"My intentions throughout my term as captain were both to inspire and to be honest.

"Secondly, the guys gave everything. They played their hearts out. I was proud to get to know each and every one of them. I know they are all going to win tournaments, be on future Ryder Cup teams and have wonderful careers."

ESPN reported on Friday that, according to four unidentified team sources, Watson took no responsibility for any shortcomings by the Americans at Gleneagles and had panned the poor play by the U.S. in the final foursomes matches.

Though the U.S. ultimately suffered a crushing loss by 16-1/2 points to 11-1/2 in the 40th edition of the biennial competition, the Americans started out strongly in the singles matches before running out of steam against an inspired Europe.   Continued...

Ryder Cup team U.S. captain Tom Watson gestures while announcing his three picks to add to this year's Ryder Cup squad during an event in New York September 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson