Pros advice

Phil Mickelson’s wish could be granted as Paul Azinger opens door to possible return

Phil Mickelson must have been rubbing that genies lamp pretty hard the last couple of days because it looks as though his wish for former Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger to return could be a possibility after the man himself admitted harbouring interest in a second run.

Mickelson caused controversy on Sunday when, after only two hours of the United States being well beaten for a third consecutive time at the hands of Europe, he openly criticised the approach of captain Tom Watson.

Watson himself was sitting only a few feet away and said nothing while the five-time major winner slanted his preparations and overall delivery of coaching at Gleneagles. Some of the anger seemed to stem from the fact that Mickelson was left out of a full day’s game on Saturday for the first time in 10 Ryder Cup appearances – prompting him to heap praise on the methods introduced by Azinger in 2008’s Valhalla victory.

When asked if he would captain the side again. Azinger said: "I'm not going to rule anything out."

Azinger pointed the finger at the PGA of America, which appoints the captains, stating it needed to move away from selecting “long wolf” captains and instead copy the European’s model of selecting players who had experience of the Ryder Cup as vice-captains.

"The PGA of America has officers that move up the ranks, getting sage advice along the way, and then many of them stick around and keep offering advice," Azinger said.

"I think the PGA of America should recognise their business model is exactly the same as what Europe uses in selecting a captain.

"There is a razor-thin line between winning and losing these matches," Azinger added. "Europe has the intangible right now. They give themselves the extra one per cent chance to win through its business model and cohesiveness.

"Even if you play blackjack perfectly in a casino, the casino still has a very slight edge against you. Right now Europe is the casino and the US is the guy walking to the blackjack table with a fistful of 50s."

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