Mickelson 'team leader' of U.S. side, says captain Love

Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:18pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) - Davis Love III is the non-playing skipper charged with the task of ending Europe's domination of the Ryder Cup but there seems little doubt that Phil Mickelson is the unofficial playing captain.

The five-times major winner has been a pivotal member of the 11-strong Task Force set up two years ago to help the United States compete better in the biennial event and he continues to play an inspirational role in the locker room this week.

"Phil is, I think, the backbone of the team," Love told reporters at Hazeltine National on Wednesday. "When he gets up to speak he obviously has a purpose when he says something.

"He's been a team leader, gosh, I'd say in the last six or eight teams I've been around, he's been the leader on the golf course or in the locker room or in the team room."

Brandt Snedeker, making his second U.S. Ryder Cup appearance this week as his side attempt to defeat Europe for the first time since 2008, explained how much of an influence the 46-year-old Mickelson had been in the countdown to the event.

"Phil is not just a leader this week, he's a leader all year round," said Snedeker. "He takes time out of his schedule and his days to talk.

GREAT PARTNER   Continued...

Sep 28, 2016; Chaska, MN, USA;  Phil Mickelson walks on the course during the practice round for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports