Jim Furyk defends Mickelson foursomes selection

Jim Furyk

Jim Furyk has defended his decision to play Phil Mickelson in the afternoon foursomes on the opening day of the Ryder Cup, which ended in the first European session whitewash since 1989.

In the build-up to the event, it was widely expected that the five-time major winner wouldn't play in foursomes, given that he ranks 192nd out of 193 on the PGA Tour in 2018 for Driving Accuracy, hitting just 51.59% of fairways from 90 recorded rounds.

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Nevertheless, he was given the nod to appear alongside rookie Bryson DeChambeau after missing the morning fourballs and they suffered at the hands of Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren, going down 5&4.

It could have been worse, too, with Garcia and Noren 7-up through just nine holes but, speaking in his end-of-the-day presser, Furyk dismissed criticism of the 48-year-old.

Tiger Furyk

"You know, I've heard, I guess some rumblings [regarding Phil]," said the US captain. "I felt comfortable putting them out there.

"Their scores were pretty similar to pretty much the best scores we had on the team today. I have all the confidence in both of those players, and I have so much confidence in Phil in his ability to take a young player like Bryson and help him out.

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"Also, it's Phil Mickelson, major champion. He's got a lot of experience and I put that confidence in him."

All four afternoon matches, including Mickelson and DeChambeau's drubbing, didn't make it even as far as the 17th hole so, ahead of Saturday, was the manner of the defeats a concern for the skipper? In a word, no.

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"It's important to remember we’ve only played for eight points out of 28," he added. "The game’s still pretty young. It’s a pretty small percentage of this golf tournament. But what happened we'll use as motivation."

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