Mickelson Beats Ryder Cup Teammates… Right-Handed

This could either be a really good sign or a really bad sign for Team USA’s chances later this month at Hazeltine: Phil Mickelson won a closest-to-the-pin competition on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots, using a right-handed club.

Mickelson, you may recall, plays his golf from the other side of the ball. The other seven automatic qualifiers who competed are right handed.

ESPN.com’s Jason Sobel had some more details

As part of this team bonding, there was a closest-to-the-pin competition on the New England Patriots’ playing field. A hole was set up, with a tee exactly 78 yards away. The players didn’t have their own clubs, but Love did, so each guy just used the captain’s wedges.

Which was suitable, of course, except for the fact that one prominent team member happens to play left-handed. Phil Mickelson didn’t care. The natural right-hander simply turned around, hit the ball righty and won the contest, knocking one to 4 feet from the makeshift hole.

“Honestly, it’s just not that hard to play golf right-handed,” Mickelson said Thursday, smile on his face and tongue firmly in cheek. “I think the real challenge and enjoyment I get is from trying to play the game left-handed.”

This was peak Phil, a world-class needler doing some world-class needling.

“Hitting a wedge is not that hard, righty or lefty,” he continued, still smiling. “It’s when I get to the longer stuff, like driver, I have a hard time righty. Of course, I have a hard time hitting driver lefty, too. But hitting wedges has always been pretty easy.”

Laying it on extra thick, Mickelson insisted he didn’t want to rub in this victory to his teammates.

“I wouldn’t want them to feel bad. As a guy who knows how sensitive these players can be, I didn’t want to overemphasize my victory last night. It didn’t go unnoticed, but I didn’t need to harp on it. I didn’t need to make a big deal of it. They’re just a little touchy about that kind of stuff.”

As if to underscore that notion, Jordan Spieth said, “[We] all feel really bad, because he sure let us know about it.”

 More Phil just being Phil. 



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