• Phil Mickelson backs Couples for Ryder Cup captaincy
• "You've got to have somebody that's strong enough"
• Looking for victory after a winless 2014
Phil Mickelson has backed Fred Couples to become the next USA Ryder Cup captain, saying he’d be the ideal person to lead the team at Hazeltine in 2016.
Mickelson, 44, was highly critical of Tom Watson’s captaincy during the USA’s defeat at Gleneagles in 2014 and speaking ahead of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines which got underway today, the five-time major champion heaped praise on 55-year-old Couples.
“When you look at the next captain, you’ve got to have somebody that’s strong enough, confident enough in who they are and able to withstand the scrutiny that’s going to come their way,” Phil Mickelson said.
“So Fred is absolutely one of the guys that would fit the bill. He’s able to let his ego go, let somebody else take the credit but he’s willing to stand up and take the hits. There are a couple of other guys that fit the mould too and that would really provide great leadership.”
Phil Mickelson is looking to kick-start his season after a winless 2014 – his first season without a win since 2003 – and is feeling positive despite being disappointed with a T24 finish in the Humana Challenge two weeks ago.
“I feel very good coming into the week but I felt good going into the Humana and so forth. So I don’t really know what the score’s going to be but I’m not displeased at all.
“Last year I didn’t feel good about my game, I didn’t feel good about how I was hitting it and my speed wasn’t up. Now, I feel good. It sometimes takes a few rounds, a few tournaments to get into the course management aspect, to play the rounds properly, to be patient, to know when to attack and when not to.
“With the exception of the PGA last year, the parts weren’t quite there. Now, I feel like the parts are there but I’ve just got to put it together.”
Phil Mickelson tees off on the Torrey Pines South Course at 10.40am local time (6.40pm UK time) alongside Bill Haas and FedEx Cup leader Jimmy Walker.
Phil Mickelson on Fred Couples :: Your thoughts
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