Phil Levies Gripe That Gave Europeans Edge

A week removed from the Ryder Cup matches and even with the new PGA Tour season getting underway, Phil Mickelson is still answering questions about the biennial matches last week in Paris. 

Following an opening round 7-under par 65 at the Safeway Open, which put him squarely in contention, Mickelson riffed on the aspect of Le Golf National that he felt gave the home team a distinct advantage.

“The Europeans did a great thing, they did the opposite of what we do when we have the Ryder Cup here,” Mickelson said. “The fairways were 14 to 16 yards wide. Ben Hogan, who is the greatest ball-striker of all time, had a five percent margin of error. So if you hit the ball 300 yards, which we all hit it more than that, you need to have a 30-yard wide fairway to be able to hit it. The fact is they had brutal rough, almost unplayable, and it’s not the way I play. I don’t play like that. And here I can miss the fairways, I can get shots out of the rough up on the green and it’s playable.

“And I’m 48. I’m not going to play tournaments with rough like that anymore, it’s a waste of my time. I’m going to play courses that are playable and that I can play aggressive, attacking, make a lot of birdies, style of golf I like to play.”

While the condition of the course was outside of their control, many of the headlines that emerged from the U.S. side of things hinted at a fractured team room. Mickelson, however, claimed that narrative couldn’t be more untrue. 

“We had one of the best weeks as far as teammates, as far as working together, camaraderie,” Mickelson said. “We had an awesome week. I don’t know what to say (about some of the reports of friction) because I didn’t see any of that stuff happen. I only saw one of the best weeks and team unities that we’ve had in a long time.”

Mickelson continued his good play on Friday in Napa, shooting a 3-under par 69 to sit in a tie for second place, three shots behind 36-hole leader Brandt Snedeker.