Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley won their morning fourball match against Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia on the 18th hole, but Mickelson’s coach Butch Harmon was surprised to see the 44-year-old Mickelson heading back out with Bradley for alternate-shot that afternoon.
"I really question Phil Mickelson playing in the afternoon,” Harmon said on the UK’s Sky Sports network. “He's 44. He looks out of gas to me."
Harmon must have been onto something because after Mickelson and Bradley lost their afteroon match, Mickelson said he would sit out the Saturday morning matches. Europe leads the Ryder Cup, 5 to 3
In the U.S. broadcast on the Golf Channel, Johnny Miller made a similar point. Before Mickelson and Bradley’s afternoon match against Graeme McDowell and Victor Dubuisson, Miller questioned the wisdom of U.S. captain Tom Watson sending Mickelson and Bradley back out, and he look prescient when McDowell and Dubuisson closed them out on the 16th hole.
Miller said even though Bradley and Mickelson won their morning fourball match, they both were a little wild off the tee and that would be more costly in alternate shot, the afternoon format. Miller said he thought the U.S. team would have been better off with Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed playing the afternoon match instead of Bradley and Mickelson. However, Miller added that Mickelson and Bradley’s 3-0 Ryder Cup record was a good explanation for Watson sticking with the veterans.
Spieth and Reed, each playing the their first Ryder Cup, won 5 and 4 over Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter in the morning fourball. The youngsters lobbied Watson to send them back out in the afternoon, but the captain decided to sit them in the afternoon.