ATLANTA – Phil Mickelson, a founding member of last year’s U.S. Ryder Cup task force, has taken a leadership role in this year’s matches that goes well beyond the field of play.
At East Lake on Sunday, he even began a lobbying effort to bring the course more in line with what players will face next week at Hazeltine National.
“I'm going to point something out,” Mickelson said following a final-round 66. “This is a great example of the disconnect that we have on the U.S. side because the [PGA] Tour doesn't own the Ryder Cup, let's say, or doesn't work in conjunction with the PGA of America.”
Mickelson wasn’t happy with the set up this week at East Lake, which had the thickest rough many players could remember. By comparison, next week’s venue for the Ryder Cup will feature virtually no rough and open fairways.
“The European Tour [which owns the Ryder Cup overseas] would never have the setup be so different the week before the Ryder Cup,” Mickelson said. “Why the Tour set it up so differently from what we're going to have next week is a lack of communication and working together. It's those kinds of details that we have to sort through as a unit to bring out our best.”
Mickelson also seemed less than pleased with how the team’s final pick was playing out. A change to this year’s selection process held captain Davis Love III’s final pick until after today’s final round in order to avoid a situation like the one that occurred in 2014 when Billy Horschel won the BMW Championship and Tour Championship but didn’t make the Ryder Cup team.
“It might have been a mistake to wait this long for the final pick,” Mickelson said. “It's kind of hard to get all the game plans and so forth in sync when the team is not quite finalized, but those are all little details.”