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Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson feud in extremely awkward team USA Ryder Cup press conference

Maybe we don't do a joint team press conference next time?

The Ryder Cup ended Sunday around Noon, but the most entertaining part of the week for the USA side may have come off the course in the post-event press conference. All 12 members sat on a dais for a joint press conference, and thankfully Phil Mickelson was seated on the far left, well away from Tom Watson's position in the center.

In a horribly tense and awkward press conference for the USA team, but delightfully entertaining for the audience, Mickelson savaged Watson's captaincy this week, and did so on several occasions. The most notable critique was the overall Team USA deviation from the 2008 "pod" strategy put in place by then-captain Paul Azinger.

On the course after his match, Mickleson lobbed a comparable grenade in talking to Golf Channel's Steve Sands, questioning why they had "strayed" from the 2008 strategy. They were shots at Captain Watson, whether indirect or direct, and his strategy for this losing year. Here's video of Phil's presser comments holding up the 2008 strategy against what was done by Watson (via GolfChannel)

Part of Mickelson's frustration undoubtedly stems from his sitting out an entire day, back-to-back sessions, for the first time in his 20-year career in these cup events. After playing 36 on Friday, Mickelson said he needed rest and sat out Saturday morning. It was expected that he and Keegan Bradley would get the call for the afternoon foursomes session, but Watson kept them on the bench. Tim Rosaforte reported that Mickelson pleaded with Watson, and even texted him a second time at the last minute saying "We can get this done" but the captain told him no.

After firing the shots comparing this year to Azinger's captaincy, Mickelson was asked if he or anyone was consulted on any decisions this week and gave a curt answer. He was not happy.

Bradley was asked about the benching, but only after Mickelson said "Keegan, why don't you take that one, I've probably said enough." Bradley wasn't thrilled, saying he was "bummed" about the move that had him sit out an entire day.

Watson, who was sitting just down the line, responded to Phil "I had a different philosophy being a captain of this team. You know, it takes 12 players to win. It's not pods. It's 12 players. And I felt, I based my decisions on, yes, I did talk to the players, but my vice captains were very instrumental in making decisions as to whom to pair with." Watson added, "He has a difference of opinion. That's okay."

Watson spent most of the week specifically citing the play of the players and their shortcomings on the course when asked about different strategy decisions he made.

The entire sequence was remarkable. Even Jim Furyk, one of Mickelson's contemporaries who has been a part of all these teams, was asked to assess the" back-and-forth" going on in the press conference and responded, "Gee, thanks. Just sitting over here minding my own business" to everyone's laughter. Furyk toed the line, saying he was great friends with Phil and respected the work Watson had done but "didn't think it wise to get in the middle of it."

Furyk would later add that if he knew the "winning formula," he would have "changed this shit a long time ago."

After the press conference, one player, perhaps Phil, perhaps not, sent a text to Sports Illustrated's Alan Shipnuck with another brutal jab at Watson.

The entire press conference was remarkable. It's so rare to have players critique each other in public, let alone in public when they're both in the same room. There was obviously much instant reaction on Twitter as the two golf legends went back-and-forth.