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It almost feels like an understatement to say Phil Mickelson had a terrible Ryder Cup.

The five-time major winner lost both of his matches (including the decisive singles tie with Francesco Molinari) to set a new record for most defeats in the history of the biennial tussle.

As trips to France go, this was one to remember for all the wrong reasons.

Colin Montgomerie reckons it could have been very easily avoided had captain’s pick Mickelson followed the lead of Montgomerie’s fellow Scot Sandy Lyle.

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Struggling for form, Lyle withdrew himself from consideration for the 1989 Ryder Cup at The Belfry, putting the best interests of the team above his own.

Speaking to Reuters ahead of this week’s SAS Championship, Montgomerie, pictured below, suggested Mickelson could – and perhaps should – have done likewise.

“Phil, you have to ask questions about his form coming into it,” said the 2010 Ryder Cup winning captain.

Colin Montgomerie

“I remember Sandy Lyle in 1989 when Tony Jacklin picked him and Sandy said: ‘I’m not really playing very well, please pick somebody else Tony.’

“Possibly that would have been the thing to do for Phil, knowing the course set-up as well. Phil needs a more wide open course, as he’s said himself. The course should have been known by the captain and the players.”

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Montgomerie was also surprised by Patrick Reed’s decision to go public with his criticism of US captain Jim Furyk and teammate Jordan Spieth in the immediate aftermath of the defeat.

“Every captain’s made some odd decisions and whatever but it doesn’t really matter,” he added. “You’re playing for the team and anything that goes on behind those closed doors should stay behind those closed doors.”


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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