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"I thought it was wrong. I was embarrassed for Tom" | Paul McGinley on Mickelson's Watson criticism

Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

18:14 19 Dec 2019

While the European team celebrated their 2014 Ryder Cup win at Gleneagles, the USA team, through Phil Mickelson, were publicly airing their grievances in the loser's press conference. 

Touted by many Off The Ball listeners as their golfing moment of the decade, Mickelson, sitting in front of the world's media, embarked on a stinging rebuke of his team captain Tom Watson for his role in the loss.

Europe's winning captain that year, Paul McGinley joined Golf Weekly's decade review on Thursday and recalled his memories of the infamous moment Mickelson lambasted his captain while sitting just yards away from him in the press conference.

"We came in shortly after the Americans and they were behind schedule and we wondered why, because usually, the losing press conference is very quick you get in and you get out," McGinley remembered.

While McGinley says he had no idea of Mickelson's public criticism at the time, when he did learn of the comments, the overwhelming feeling was one of embarrassment.

"I thought it was wrong. Certainly, putting myself in those shoes if things had gone wrong for us and I am the losing captain it would have been horrible and very hurtful if one of the players sitting two or three yards away from me had of said the things Phil did. There's a time and a place.

"In 2008, when Nick [Faldo] was captain obviously things went wrong for Europe and we felt there were a lot of mistakes made there, but we fixed things behind closed doors. We had some very strong meetings behind closed doors and that's the way to deal with those things.

"I was embarrassed for Tom, I was embarrassed for the game of golf. There was a time and place and I'm sure he had lots of issues with Tom and Tom's leadership but there is a time and a place for that and that wasn't it.

"You've got to be magnanimous when you lose and be big when you lose, and you know I really felt, and I still feel, even talking about it now, sad for Tom that that was the way it turned out for him."

Although the criticisms may have been valid, McGinley argued that Mickelson should have had more respect for Tom Watson giving his reputation in the sport.

"I think Phil probably had some valid points but there was a time and a place for it and it certainly was not at the losing press conference, and certainly not when your captain is sitting beside you, and particularly when its a guy of the standing and integrity that Tom Watson has in the game."


Read more about

Golf Weekly Paul McGinley Phil Mickleson Ryder Cup Tom Watson

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