clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tom Watson belatedly blasts Phil Mickelson over Ryder Cup ‘sour grapes’

Tom Watson chooses the eve of his final British Open start to fire back at Phil Mickelson for blasting his 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy.

Harry How/Getty Images

Tom Watson took time out from his final British Open press conference as a competitor to take a tardy swing at Phil Mickelson for his "sour grapes" post-Ryder Cup blast at the 2014 U.S. captain.

Mickelson, as Watson apparently wants no one to forget, publicly — and with Watson sitting nearby— ripped his skipper after the Americans’ soul-sucking defeat at Gleneagles in September. The 10-time Ryder Cup participant made his remarks after the 16.5-11.5 debacle, during which Watson benched him for Saturday’s action in the biennial event.

"That was a disappointment to me, it was disappointing. Phil was very disappointed about not being able to play. It was kind of sour grapes," Watson said on the eve of Thursday’s start of the Open Championship at St. Andrews. "That's understandable, and we just got waxed, the whole team, and the disappointment was just there. We let our hearts talk for us.

"I did everything I possibly could in my own mind, with the help of my [assistant] captains and the PGA, to do everything possible to have us win, but the other team was better.

"We had a chance to win it on the last day," Watson added. "We got off to the start that I asked them to do that previous night, we were in the right position there — just didn't carry on."

Mickelson, making his first appearance back in Scotland since the Ryder Cup at last week’s Scottish Open and figuring reporters would question him about the incident, dodged the controversy by issuing a statement to kick off his presser at Gullane.

"The only thing I would say is that [Watson’s] one of the greatest champions this game has ever had, and I hope next week is a celebration of that greatness," Mickelson said. "It's his last Open Championship, and I'm certainly appreciative of all he's done for the game of golf."

Watson on Wednesday said the two exchanged pleasantries at Tuesday night’s annual Open champions’ dinner.

"We're cordial. I saw him last night. We said hello and we were fine," said Watson.

Whether purposefully or not, the R&A put Watson and Mickelson at opposite ends of Thursday’s opening-round draw. The elder statesman was slated to shove off at 8:33 a.m. local time, with young Phil scheduled for a 2:34 p.m. tee time.