Pros advice

Tom Watson shoulders the blame for US Ryder Cup defeat

United States captain Tom Watson has said he takes responsibility for any mistakes made in last weekend’s Ryder Cup defeat to Europe.

Following a bit of a hammering by the Europeans, who triumphed 16 ½ -11 ½ at Gleneagles, the US were left ruing their poor display as they endured an eighth loss in the last 10 of the biennial events.

And it was at a post-match press conference that veteran player Phil Mickelson talked about how he felt the team should revert to the methods which had served them so well under previous captain Paul Azinger – when they last won the contest in 2008.

Mickelson’s comments came across cold and calculated, with many believing he was outwardly criticising Watson after he was left out of both sessions on Saturday at Gleneagles.

"The bottom line is this. I was their captain. In hindsight, whatever mistakes that were made were mine and I take complete and full responsibility for them," Watson said.

Watson also admitted that he and Mickelson had a “difference of opinion” and has now released an open letter in which he takes the blame over any communication issues.

"I take complete and full responsibility for my communication,” said Watson. “And I regret that my words may have made the players feel that I didn't appreciate their commitment and dedication to winning the Ryder Cup.

"My intentions throughout my term as captain were both to inspire and to be honest. As for Phil's comments, I completely understand his reaction in the moment.

"Earlier this week I had an open and candid conversation with him and it ended with a better understanding of each other's perspectives.

"Phil's heart and intentions for our Team's success have always been in the right place. Phil is a great player, has great passion, and I admire what he's done for golf.

"The bottom line is this. I was their captain. In hindsight, whatever mistakes that were made were mine and I take complete and full responsibility for them.

"I want to say again to the players, their families, the PGA and our country, how proud and honoured I was to captain this talented group of golfers, and how privileged I was to spend the past two years working this labour of my love for the Ryder Cup."

The USA team weren’t without some spirit, of course, and in the final-day singles last week they looked like replicating a similar miracle to that of Europe in 2012. However, Europe were able to pull away again and that left the USA licking their wounds and waiting for their next opportunity to take the Ryder Cup.

“The guys gave everything,” Watson added. “They played their hearts out, I was proud to get to know each and every one of them. I know they are all going to win tournaments, be on future Ryder Cup teams, and have wonderful careers.

"Our team certainly showed guts when it took it to the other team early in Sunday's singles matches. We were indeed tied with them as the scoreboard turned wonderfully 'red'.

"Our players started fast, as I had asked them to in my comments the night before. I asked them to really concentrate on holes two to five, as the Europeans had won too many early battles on these particular holes.

"But, in the end, the facts are that the other team played better. My hat's off and congratulations to them."