Watson issues statement responding to criticism


The fallout from the U.S. loss at the Ryder Cup continues.

Six days have passed since Europe defeated the U.S., 16 1/2 to 11 1/2, to hoist the cup for the third straight time. Only one day has passed since an ESPN.com report detailed issues in the U.S. team room as early as Saturday night, prior to the Sunday singles.

While many have offered opinions on what went wrong for the U.S., American captain Tom Watson has remained silent since his squad left Scotland. That changed Saturday, when Watson released a lengthy statement regarding his role in the team's performance.

"In response to all of the recent discussion about our Ryder Cup loss, I would like to make a few comments," Watson's statement read. "First, I take complete and full responsibility for my communication, 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.

"Secondly, the guys gave everything. 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."

Watson added that comments to his team Saturday night focused on players getting off to a quick start on Sunday, just as the Europeans had done over the first two days.

"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,'" he said. "Our players started fast as I had asked them to in my comments the night before. I asked them to really concentrate on holes 2-5, 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."

Watson also addressed Phil Mickelson's comment. Mickelson critiqued Watson's leadership during Sunday's news conference, arguing that the U.S. had unnecessarily "strayed" from a formula put into place by Paul Azinger during the 2008 Ryder Cup, the only time in the last 15 years the Americans claimed the trophy.

"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," Watson said. "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 65-year-old, who in 1993 was the last man to captain a winning American squad on foreign soil, ended his statement by taking responsibility for the team's loss.

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