The prospect of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson joining forces at the Ryder Cup once more has increased after the latter insisted the pair would “welcome” playing together in France.
Woods and Mickelson, known adversaries earlier in their careers, lost two matches out of two when partners in the 2004 Ryder Cup and have not been paired together since. More recently, however, Woods and Mickelson have developed an apparently close bond. Speculation Jim Furyk could now unite the Ryder Cup veterans increased on Tuesday as Woods and Mickelson formed part of the same practice group at Le Golf National.
“I think we would both welcome it,” said Mickelson when asked what his attitude towards playing with Woods would be. Pressed on whether he knew if this was an option, the 48-year-old added: “I do have an idea of what captain Furyk is thinking, yes.”
Mickelson chose his words equally carefully when asked what would be different now to 14 years ago. “When we go over little details as to why we were or weren’t successful, when I talk about it openly and try to share insight, sometimes it comes across as though I’m trying to take a shot at somebody and I don’t want to do that,” Mickelson said.
“The bottom line is going to be preparation. When we can eliminate the variables, eliminate the uncertainties, it eliminates the pressure.
“That’s probably the best way to answer it. I’d say we would be more prepared, most likely, would be the general answer.”
Another area of intrigue over the US lineup surrounded the deployment of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, hitherto regular partners, in different groups.
Furyk admitted coming to terms with a tight, occasionally deceptive, venue presents the biggest challenge to the Ryder Cup holders. “Right now, I really want them to learn the golf course and get an idea what they can do off each tee and where the least narrow parts are off these fairways,” Furyk said. “There’s not a lot of wide parts out there.
“[They are] trying to figure out where to hit the ball, where to go. Europe had the opportunity to set the golf course up, so we’re trying to figure out what they have in store for us this week.”