Sports

A team divided: Mickelson says US has strayed from Azinger's winning formula

  • US team captain Tom Watson, right, and team members watch the singles match between Europe’s Jamie Donaldson and Keegan Bradley of the US on the final day of the Ryder Cup golf tournament at Gleneagles, Scotland, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    US team captain Tom Watson, right, and team members watch the singles match between Europe‚Äôs Jamie Donaldson and Keegan Bradley of the US on the final day of the Ryder Cup golf tournament at Gleneagles, Scotland, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)  (The Associated Press)

  • Phil Mickelson of the US walks up to the 1st tee box during the singles match on the final day of the Ryder Cup golf tournament at Gleneagles, Scotland, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

    Phil Mickelson of the US walks up to the 1st tee box during the singles match on the final day of the Ryder Cup golf tournament at Gleneagles, Scotland, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)  (The Associated Press)

  • Phil Mickelson of the US walks up to the 4th green during the singles match on the final day of the Ryder Cup golf tournament, at Gleneagles, Scotland, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Phil Mickelson of the US walks up to the 4th green during the singles match on the final day of the Ryder Cup golf tournament, at Gleneagles, Scotland, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)  (The Associated Press)

Phil Mickelson says the Americans have strayed from their winning formula in the Ryder Cup.

In an awkward press conference after Europe won the Ryder Cup handily on Sunday, Mickelson says Paul Azinger's captaincy worked at Valhalla in 2008 because all the players were involved. With U.S. captain Tom Watson sitting just six seats away, he says Watson made all the decisions himself.

One of those decisions was to sit Mickelson on the bench all of Saturday. Mickelson had never missed an entire day in his nine previous Ryder Cup matches.

Watson listened to Mickelson praising Azinger endlessly.

Asked to respond, Watson says they have a different philosophy. He dismissed Azinger's system by saying, "It's not pods. It's 12 players."

Europe has won six of the last seven Ryder Cups.