CHASKA, Minn. – Phil Mickelson has apologized for his disparaging remarks about 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton, telling Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte that he was “totally in the wrong” and used “an extreme example” of how a captain can impact play.
Mickelson said in his news conference Wednesday that he and partner Tiger Woods were “put in a position to fail” by Sutton when they were paired together at Oakland Hills with only two days’ notice. They went 0-2 on the first day, and the Americans went on to suffer their worst-ever loss on home soil.
Sutton, who participated in the Captain’s Challenge Wednesday at nearby Minneapolis Golf Club, responded later that day to GolfChannel.com, saying that Mickelson “needs to search his own soul a little bit.”
Mickelson told Rosaforte on Wednesday night that his comments were “in bad taste” and “came across like it was a personal attack and I didn’t mean it that way.”
“I’ve communicated with him,” Mickelson told Rosaforte. “I feel awful. It was never meant to be like that. I was trying to use an example of how a captain can have a strong effect. Unfortunately, it came across the way it did.”
U.S. captain Davis Love III told Rosaforte that there was an effort to reach out to Sutton Wednesday night.
"Tiger, Phil and myself were trying to get hold of Hal after dinner," Love said. "He had enough of it and [had] gone to bed. He immediately texted back this morning, saying, a captain’s job is to put out fires. You guys go get ‘em. Let’s move on."
Golf Channel's Todd Lewis added that the two met face-to-face and hashed it out:
Spoke with Hal Sutton After Phil talked to him today and apologized for comments. Hal said, "Phil and I are fine. Nice of him to do that."— Todd Lewis (@ToddLewisGC) September 29, 2016
Sutton and other past captains have been invited to hang out in the team room and at Hazeltine as a display of unity.
“I was totally in the wrong,” Mickelson said. “I never should have brought that up. I used an extreme example the way decisions can affect play, and I never should have done that because it affected Hal.”