The Golf Blog says: At the press conference following a blowout loss for the US team (16.5 to 11.5), Phil Mickelson talked openly about the last time the US won a Ryder Cup in 2008 (he’s been on 8 losing teams). When asked a question about how the US team won in 2008 at Valhalla, Phil let loose. He said that Paul Azinger, the last US coach to win a Ryder Cup, created “pods” in which team members who would play together during the Ryder Cup would practice and hang out together to establish some team chemistry. He said Azinger got team members invested in the process and Zinger also had a good strategy of giving each pod a game plan. Tom Watson defended his strategy and dismissed the notion of a “pod” at the press conference. But Watson’s own coaching this week left a lot of good reasons to question the decisions he made this past week.
If the U.S. team ever wants to win a Ryder Cup, they need truth tellers who aren’t afraid to look critically on past performances. Phil was right to speak up.
Let’s face facts: Tom Watson didn’t have a great rapport with the team, many of whom are nearly 40 years younger than he is. Even though Watson was the coach of the team, it seemed more like he was a chaperone who simply had the responsibility to make decisions on whom to play. We didn’t get a chance to see what happened in the locker room, but from the outward appearances, Tom wasn’t the chummy, players-kind of coach like the Europeans always seem to have.
And then Watson made some costly decisions. Watson sat Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed on Friday afternoon after they decisively won in the morning, despite their pleas to Watson to continue. Then, Watson sat Phil Mickelson-Keegan Bradley who went 1-1 on Friday because Watson felt 4 other teams were better at alternate shot. Mickelson twice pleaded to Watson to put them out there, but Watson stubbornly denied them (yes, the same duo that went undefeated at the last Ryder Cup). No doubt Phil was a little miffed about sitting all Saturday. As it turned out, 3 of the 4 teams Watson put out instead of Phil-Keegan lost to the Euros, leaving a 4 point deficit that was simply too hard to make up on Sunday.
Watson didn’t lose this Ryder Cup. The players did. But Watson didn’t make great selections for his captain’s picks (Webb Simpson over Billy Horschel), and Watson made some dubious calls on Friday and Saturday afternoon. If you don’t want the US team ever to win a Ryder Cup again, then hold any criticism of Captain Watson. But if you want the US team to compete again, it’s time to examine everything that has gone wrong in the Ryder Cup for the US team, which has lost of 8 of the last 10 Ryder Cups dating back to 1995. The Ryder Cup is a gentlemen’s game, it’s true. But gentlemen are honest, self-reflective people who tell the truth and learn from past mistakes. There is a reason the US Team has lost 8 of 10 Ryder Cups. Let’s not be in denial due to politeness.
Phil, when asked if any of his teammates were involved in Watson's decisions: "No, nobody here was in any decision." http://t.co/NbT9TNu61X
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) September 28, 2014
Tom Watson on sitting J. Spieth & P. Reed: “I take the blame for that. That decision not to play them was a hard decision to make."
— Rex Hoggard (@RexHoggardGC) September 26, 2014