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John Daly defends Ryder Cup antagonists Tom Watson and Phil Mickelson

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The legendary Tom Watson’s too nice a guy to warrant the criticism aimed at him since the U.S. lost the Ryder Cup, according to John Daly. Long John also says Phil Mickelson’s post-tournament jab at Watson was ‘blown out of proportion.’

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John Daly believes Tom Watson got a bum rap after his U.S. Ryder Cup team lost to the Europeans in September, but Long John also defended Phil Mickelson, whose post-tournament comments sparked the ongoing criticism of his 2014 captain.

"I don't like what everybody's done with Tom," said Daly, who’s become something of a go-to guy for unorthodox ideas about how the Americans can recapture the cup from the Euros, during a chat with reporters Saturday from the stormy Turkish Airlines open.

While supporting Watson as "a legend of the game" and "one of the nicest guys" he had ever met, Daly absolved Mickelson of blame for talking out of school. Lefty, one half of a Mickelson-Tiger Woods tandem Daly boosted last week as potential playing captains of future RC teams, indirectly bashed Watson’s captaincy after his team lost 16.5-11.5 to Europe at Gleneagles.

"I think the thing about Phil, what he said, I think it was blown out of proportion," said Daly, who played on a sponsor’s exemption and finished T25 in Turkey on Sunday. "It was a question, ‘what does the U.S. need to do differently,’ and Phil didn't say anything bad against Tom. He just said, ‘I think we need to do it the way [2008 U.S. skipper Paul] Azinger did it.’"

Mickelson, in that now-notorious press conference in Scotland, touted the pod concept Azinger employed on his way to the most recent victory by the Americans in the Ryder Cup.

Daly, by the way, reiterated he would welcome a role -- on the sidelines or on the field -- at Hazeltine in two years.

"It would just be an honor to be a part of it, to be honest with you," said Daly, who last week appeared to toss his hat in the ring for a vice captaincy, "whether I'm playing or whatever, just to do something to help them."