Tom Watson admits Phil Mickelson pleaded to play in Ryder Cup foursomes


The spectre of discontent in the United States Ryder Cup ranks has increased after Tom Watson revealed he refused a plea from to play in Saturday afternoon’s foursomes. Watson’s team are 10-6 down before Sunday’s singles at Gleneagles and Mickelson and Keegan Bradley did not feature at all on day two as the USA team returned only half a point from the foursomes.

“I expected exactly what Phil said to me,” explained Watson of the foursomes omission of Mickelson and Bradley. “He said: ‘We can get it done, captain. We want the chance.’ I said: ‘Well, I think the way this golf course sets up, the four teams I put out there gives us the best chance.’ He lobbied again. He texted me, he said: ‘Give us a chance.’ I had to tell him no. I felt that we had the four best teams possible in the afternoon for alternate shot.

“He [Mickelson] didn’t play very well yesterday. I told him that. I said: ‘You struggled yesterday.’ And whether that was from being tired or the course not being set up exactly for his type of game, I had to make that decision.”

Watson irked Patrick Reed on Friday by refusing to retain his successful partnership with Jordan Spieth for the foursomes, where the US team also struggled. The United States need eight and a half points to win back the .

The European captain, Paul McGinley, though, has warned against a belief that victory is assured. He was expected to show video clips of recent Ryder Cup Sunday turnarounds, at and , to his players on Saturday night.

McGinley also expanded on the specific messages of Sir Alex Ferguson, who on Tuesday evening. “Alex Ferguson wasn’t just picked out of the blue because I met him by chance or anything like that,” McGinley said. “He was picked for a reason. He was picked as a guy who I’ve obviously always respected, as we all do as sports people, for what he’s achieved.

“But he was a manager of a very, very successful football team that played at home very well, had a great record at home, were very good playing with the tag of favourites on and the expectation on them.”

McGinley added: “A four-point lead going into the last round is great. But obviously the big word is complacency. The big word is not conceding momentum; they are the two words. And just being on it tomorrow; that’s the most important thing. This job is far from finished. We’re in great position, but we’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow.”