• The pair fell out after Mickelson's post-Ryder Cup criticism
• Watson is making his final Open appearance next week
PHIL MICKELSON | TOM WATSON
Phil Mickelson says he hopes Tom Watson has a ‘special week’ at St Andrews as the five-time Open winner makes his final trip across the Swilcan Bridge – but refused to say that they’d made peace.
Five-time major winner Mickelson was scathing in his criticism of Watson on the back of Team USA’s dismal display at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles last September, laying into his captain by comparing his failings to the success of Paul Azinger back in 2008.
And prior to his Wednesday morning press conference at the Scottish Open, Mickelson wanted to declare two things before opening for questions: an article which appeared last week linking the 2013 Open champion to money laundering and of course, Watson.
"I hope next week is a celebration of that greatness" - Phil Mickelson
“He’s one of the greatest champions the game’s ever had and I hope next week is a celebration of that greatness,” Phil Mickelson said. “It’s his last Open Championship and I’m certainly appreciative and admire all that he’s done for the game of golf.”
And speaking at a later juncture, the 45-year-old dodged the thought that he’d made peace with Watson, referring to his agonising play-off loss to Stewart Cink at Turnberry in 2009 before wishing him well for the week ahead.
“I look at him as one of the best players the game has ever seen and I look at him with a lot of respect in that regard,” Phil Mickelson said.
“In ’09 when he almost won I was pulling as hard as anybody, I thought it was one of the greatest stories in the history of any sport and, as much as I like Stewart Cink, I think we would’ve cherished a Watson victory there. I hope he plays well and I’d like him to have a special week.
Phil Mickelson :: Scottish Open
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