The drama surrounding the dysfunctional 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team just took a turn for the worse.
According to a report by Bob Harig on ESPN.com, Phil Mickelson's thinly-veiled public swipe at captain Tom Watson did not occur in a vacuum, but was provoked by a tirade the 65-year-old Watson put on in front of the American squad during a team meeting Saturday night at the Ryder Cup.
"Four sources who witnessed the proceedings in the U.S. team room at the Gleneagles Hotel said that Watson took no responsibility for any shortcomings, scoffed at a gift that the U.S. team members gave him, ridiculed several European team players and started the proceedings by denigrating the Americans' play that afternoon."
"'You could have heard a pin drop in that room,' one of those in attendance said. 'He was pissed. It all went from there.'"
Harig sets a strange scene Saturday night at Gleneagles, when Watson confronted the U.S. players in a not-so-private meeting.
"They gathered in the Team Room that night — a hotel ballroom at the lavish Gleneagles Hotel with TVs, ping-pong tables, food and drink. They were joined by their wives or girlfriends (except for Fowler), as well as their caddies and their significant others. Some of the hotel staff were in the room, as were a few members of the PGA of America staff on hand. In all, more than 40 people were there when Watson returned to the Team Room after speaking to the media about the Sunday pairings."
"Watson started by saying, according to all of the sources: 'You stink at foursomes.'"
Among the more interesting details in the report was Watson's reaction when presented with a replica Ryder Cup signed by all the players.
"Instead of thanking them, the sources said Watson said the gift meant nothing to him if the players didn't get the real Ryder Cup on Sunday and that he wanted to be holding it aloft on the green in victory."
"Said one of the sources: 'That's almost verbatim. He said it basically means nothing to me.'"
"Added another: 'It was fairly shocking that he treated this thoughtful gift with such disdain.'"
The report, which cites unnamed sources, comes on the heels of Team USA's cringeworthy post-Ryder Cup press conference, in which Phil Mickelson tore into Watson saying, "Nobody here was in any decision,” and suggesting the reason for the U.S. team's defeat was that they had strayed from the winning formula former captain Paul Azinger employed for the Americans' last victory in 2008.