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Phil Mickelson slams Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson after USA are beaten

'Unfortunately we have strayed from a winning formula for the last three Ryder Cups'

Mickelson

Mickelson wants Paul Azinger’s pod system to return after 2008 Ryder Cup win

It has now been three straight wins for the European Ryder Cup team and there weren’t too many hairy moments for Paul McGinley as his team landed a 16.5 v 11.5 victory at Gleneagles.

While McGinley’s captaincy was widely lauded as a success, the same cannot be said of golfing legend Tom Watson who was an outstanding player but made a series of odd decisions which led to the USA’s downfall.

Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed sat out the Friday foursomes despite the rookies blowing Gallacher and Poulter out of the water in the fourballs, while Phil Mickelson was clearly outraged by the decision to leave him and Keegan Bradley on the sidelines during Day 2.

Mickelson pulled no punches in the post-match press conference and harked back to the 2008 success under Paul Azinger where a pod system was successfully employed.

He said: ‘There were two things that allowed us to play our best that Paul Azinger did.

‘First, he got everybody invested in the process. He got everybody invested in who they were going to play with, who the picks were going to be, who was going to be in their ‘pod’, when they would play, and they had a great leader for each pod. We hung out together.

‘The other things that Paul did really well was he had a game plan for us – how we were going to go about doing this, how we were going to go about playing together, if so-and-so is playing well, if so-and-so is not playing well.

‘Those two things helped us bring out our best golf. We use that same process in the Presidents Cup and we do really well.

‘Unfortunately we have strayed from a winning formula for the last three Ryder Cups and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best.’

Asked if he believed his comments were disloyal to Watson, he replied: ‘I’m sorry you’re taking it that way. I’m just talking about what Paul Azinger did to help us play our best.’