SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Phil Mickelson has played in more Ryder Cup matches than anyone else in history. So, when U.S. captain Jim Furyk broke the news to Mickelson that he’d have to sit out all day on Saturday, he did the only thing he could do.
“Gave me a pat on the back and put his arm around me going up, following Spieth-Thomas match this morning, and you know, we had a great conversation,” Furyk said late Saturday at Le Golf National.
If this is Mickelson’s last Ryder Cup – it’s almost certainly his last on foreign soil – this isn’t the way he wanted to go out. The last thing he thought he’d do was play so poorly during a Friday foursomes loss that he’d be relegated to cheerleader for a full day. But the form wasn’t there. The U.S. was behind. They needed a spark. Furyk had to send out his eight best players in both Saturday sessions and it was clear that Mickelson was not one of those eight.
Mickelson, 48, still held out hope that he’d get the nod. He was warming up while the morning fourballs were being played. But, ultimately, he got the message from Furyk.
“I had to leave him a message to tell him, which I don’t like to do,” Furyk said. “I’d rather do it in person.”
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Once they caught up they had what Furyk said was a positive conversation and said Mickelson accepted his fate.
“He’s got a lot of confidence in himself,” Furyk said. “He’s a hall of famer and he’s added so much to these teams in the past and this week.
“I didn’t envision him playing two matches, to be honest with you. I envisioned more, but that’s the way it worked out and that’s the way we thought we had to go.
“He’s funny, he’s sarcastic, witty, likes to poke fun at people, and he’s a great guy to have in the team room. I think the younger players had fun having a go at him as well this week which was fun to see. He provides a lot more than just play.”
Mickelson is going to have his hands full in singles. He drew Francesco Molinari in the ninth of 12 singles matches. Molinari has teamed with Tommy Fleetwood to win all four team matches they played together over the past two days.