Mickelson starts war of words with former Cup captain Sutton

Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:39pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson sparked a verbal spat with former United States captain Hal Sutton at Hazeltine on Wednesday for events that occurred during the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills.

Mickelson criticized Sutton for his late decision that week to pair the American left-hander with Tiger Woods, the world's two top-ranked players at the tine who went on to lose both matches they played against Europe.

"We were told two days before that we were playing together, and that gave us no time to work together and prepare," Mickelson told reporters during the build-up to this week's Ryder Cup.

"He (Woods) plays a very high-spin ball and I play a very low-spin ball, and we had to come up in two days with a solution."

Mickelson and Woods were beaten 2&1 by Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington in the opening fourball matches at Oakland Hills before losing one down to Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood in the foursomes.

The U.S. ended that week by slumping to a crushing defeat by 18-1/2 points to 9-1/2 with Sutton widely slammed for his decision to pair Mickelson and Woods, two players who were never particularly close.

"I'm not trying to knock anybody here, because I actually loved how decisive Captain Sutton was," said Mickelson. "I feel like that's a sign of great leadership to be decisive.

"Had we had time to prepare, I think we would have made it work and could have had some success. But that's an example of starting with the captain, that put us in a position to fail and we failed monumentally, absolutely."   Continued...

Sep 28, 2016; Chaska, MN, USA;  Team USA golfer Phil Mickelson addresses the media before their practice round for the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports