Fred Couples dumbfounded by Phil Mickelson’s Ryder Cup benching
Fred Couples, a popular choice of many to become the U.S. Ryder Cup team’s next captain, remains incredulous that outgoing skipper Tom Watson sat Phil Mickelson during September’s matches in Scotland.
“I’m not bashing Tom Watson but sitting Mickelson, your best team player?” Couples said Thursday during a golf clinic for youngsters in Arizona, according to Golf.com. “Are you kidding me?”
Couples made his remarks about the Americans’ disastrous outing at Gleneagles a few days after Mickelson, Tiger Woods, and the rest of the Ryder Cup task force met to discuss the selection process for the squad’s next leader. Couples, the undefeated captain of three Presidents Cup teams, noted the PGA of America panel had been in touch with him about taking the Ryder Cup reins in 2016 at Hazeltine.
Mickelson teamed with Keegan Bradley to split two matches on the first day of the event, after which the duo rode the bench until Sunday’s singles. During the now notorious post-defeat press conference, Couples took Watson to task for the way he ran the team. His remarks led to ongoing criticism, soul-searching, and, eventually, to the creation of the task force.
Couples, 55, suggested the 65-year-old Watson was out of touch with his younger charges.
“An older man with younger guys,” said Couples, who’s on record as ridiculing the need for a “task force” to fix what ails U.S. teams. “It just wasn’t a good fit.”
As for his fondness for Mickelson, Couples may want a mulligan on his description of Lefty as the team’s “best player.” Entering his U.S.-record 10th straight Ryder Cup in September, Mickelson has been on the losing side eight times and owns a record of 16 victories, six halves, and 19 losses — another U.S. record.