Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

​Phil Mickelson Benched At The Ryder Cup

Illustration for article titled ​Phil Mickelson Benched At The Ryder Cup

The United States is in the process of taking a beating in the Ryder Cup for the sixth time in their last 7 tries. The US trails 10-6 in points, which means they'll need 8½ points out of a possible 12 in Sunday's single matches if they are to win.


The Americans were always underdogs against the European team, so this result isn't totally unexpected, nor does it mean that any American in particular has screwed the pooch. This is how things were supposed to go.

If you like your scapegoats, though, captain Tom Watson has made himself available.

The easiest decision to question will be today's all-day benching of Phil Mickelson. Watson had two opportunities to send Mickelson out — in the morning's best-ball sessions, or in the afternoon's alternate shot sessions — and he let superstar Mickelson ride pine in both.

For some background, if you aren't familiar with Ryder Cup structure: On Friday and Saturday, eight golfers from each side play in two sessions, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Seven Americans played both sessions: Matt Kuchar, Jim Fuyk, Hunter Mahan, Jordan Speith, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker.

Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley joined Mickelson as all-day benchings, too. For Europe, only Stephen Gallacher didn't play. Tomorrow, he'll play Mickelson in a singles match.

Mickelson is the big, shiny headline name, and Watson will take some heat for benching him, and that's fair, but it's not an indefensible decision from Watson, either. His reasoning was that Mickelson hadn't been playing well, and he wasn't making that up. Could he have found room for Lefty, instead of asking 7 guys to play 36 (or so) holes? Maybe. But Mickelson didn't make the strongest case for himself, either.


Watson's Friday decision to let Jordan Speith and Patrick Reed sit out the afternoon sessions was probably way, way worse.

[Photo credit: AP]