Real reason for the loss
Tiger tormentors: Phil Mickelson's Rory McIlroy love splits the U.S. Ryder Cupteam
Phil Mickelson is a great golfer, a good husband, a friend to Houston and a horrible Ryder Cup teammate.
If you want to know why the U.S. lost the Ryder Cup Monday morning in Wales, falling 14 and 1/2 to 13 and 1/2 to Europe despite a furious last-day comeback, you don't have to look any further than that. The Americans didn't hold onto the Cup because Mickelson — as talented as he is, as good of a guy as he is with the fans (and no one's better) — splits apart locker rooms.
Forget the fact that Mickelson (the former No. 2-ranked golfer in the world) went a putrid 1-3 in the Cup, only winning his singles match. While everyone focused on Tiger Woods' supposed struggles, the world's best golfer actually went 3-1 and absolutely obliterated an overmatched Francesco Molinari 4&3 (meaning he was up four holes with only three to go) with arguably his best display of shot making all year. Tiger ripped off five birdies and an eagle in a seven-hole span, a tag team of Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan in their primes would have had a tough time challenging Woods today.
But Mickelson stinking on the course wasn't even close to his greatest Ryder Cup sin.
No, that would be his taking the side of European player Rory McIlroy over his U.S. teammate Woods. Now, Phil largely has no use for Tiger — and vice versa. That's the nature of two ultra-competitive men who want the same things. So it's no real surprise that Mickelson would be delighted by McIlroy's verbal barbs at Woods.
"I would love to face Tiger, unless his game rapidly improves in the next month or so, I think anyone in the European team would fancy his chances against him," McIlroy infamously told the BBC pre-Ryder Cup. Which reportedly caused Tiger to brush past McIlroy at recent tournament and deliver a "Be careful what you wish for" to the 21-year-old.
Of course, Mickelson took McIlroy's side. While prepping for Wales. Knowing that the one week he was playing on the same team as Tiger Woods was here.
Mickelson told the Los Angeles Times that McIlroy is "a classy guy." And who do you think he's implying isn't classy on the PGA Tour?
"That's the type of charisma that Rory McIlroy has, he's just like any other top player that wants to take on the best," Micklelson went on. "That's not any type of controversy or saga."
Not when you love every minute of it. Mickelson couldn't have chosen a worse time to go Phil. There's nothing wrong with picking sides against Tiger, but why do it right before the Ryder Cup?
While showboating European captain Colin Montgomerie fostered an us-against-the-world mentality in the European team room, Mickelson's comments couldn't have helped the work of already-bungling American captain Corey Pavin. Tiger Woods isn't the problem with U.S. Ryder Cup teams, it's the toxic combination of Tiger and Phil, one that creates a division and forces everyone else to take sides.
And more and more, Phil looks like the instigator in the childish games.