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Clarke recalls facing Tiger, Phil at '04 Ryder Cup

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CHASKA, Minn. – Phil Mickelson took everyone down memory lane Wednesday when he recalled why he and Tiger Woods “failed monumentally” as partners at the 2004 Ryder Cup.

One of their opponents during the Day 1 foursomes session? None other than current European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, who partnered with Lee Westwood to score a 2-and-1 victory.

It’s worth remembering that Woods and Mickelson combined to shoot 5 under par during a 2-and-1 fourballs loss to Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie.

In the afternoon at Oakland Hills, they squared off against Clarke and Westwood. The American duo – Nos. 1 and 2 in the world – built an early 3-up lead but was all square heading to 18. Europe won, 1 up, with a bogey on the final hole, after Mickelson found trouble off the tee. 

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“Lee and I had a big task,” Clarke said. “We knew that. Phil and Tiger got off to a very good start, but Lee and myself have had a pretty solid Ryder Cup record in the past. We knew each other’s games inside and out, so we were of the mindset to keep going, one hole at a time.

“And we managed to get ourselves back into the game and eventually hang on and win the game. When I look back, it was obviously another really good achievement for Lee and myself to beat world No. 1 and 2.”

Clarke went on to post a 3-1-1 record that week, while Westwood was 4-0-1. Europe won that week, 18 1/2 to 9 1/2.

Overall, Clarke, 48, had a 10-7-3 record while appearing in five Ryder Cups.