Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson wait for play during four-ball competition at the 2004 Ryder Cup in Detroit, Michigan, September 17, 2004. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/WireImage)

Phil Mickelson candidly opened up about being paired with Tiger Woods at the 2004 Ryder Cup, not holding back criticism for the duo’s failed tourney.

Speaking at a news conference, Mickelson expressed frustration at being paired with the longtime top-ranked golfer. The three-time Masters champion said he was given just two days to prepare with Woods, and a difference in playing style severely hemorrhaged his preparation.

“[Woods] found out the year before when we played at the Presidents Cup in 2003 that the golf ball I was playing was not going to work for him,” Mickelson said. “He plays a very high-spin ball and I play a very low-spin ball, and we had to come up in two days with a solution.

“So I grabbed a couple dozen of his balls, I went off to the side, and tried to learn his golf ball in a four- or five-hour session on kind of an isolated — one of the other holes out there trying to find out how far the ball goes. And it forced me to stop my preparation for the tournament, to stop chipping and stop putting and stop sharpening my game and stop learning the golf course, in an effort to crash-course and learn a whole different golf ball that we were going to be playing.

Mickelson stressed he wasn’t placing blame on anyone, but expressed disappointment at U.S. captain Hal Sutton’s two-day briefing. He said with more time, he’d be prepared to combat Woods different ball. Mickelson said the duo failed monumentally as a result of the pairing.

“But that’s an example of starting with the captain, that put us in a position to fail, and we failed monumentally, absolutely. But to say, well, you just need to play better; that is so misinformed because you will play how you prepare.”

The failure Mickelson is talking about is the U.S. getting embarrassed with an 18½ to 9½ loss. With little preparation and conflicting styles, Mickelson and Woods never gelled, and were demolished. It sounds like the 46-year-old is still salty with Sutton’s decision, but at the very least, it’s a learning experience about preparation for future Ryder Cups.


About Liam McGuire

Social +Staff writer for The Comeback & Awful Announcing.

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