If Phil Mickelson was trying to get under the skin of the European Ryder Cup team with his crack at the legal battle involving Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, it didn’t work. But if Phil was attempting to give them a good laugh, it worked.
Martin Kaymer, the reigning U.S. Open champion, found it funny and thought it was a non-issue or if anything, a little silly.
“To Phil’s comment, it’s not really a topic for us,” said Kaymer in his press conference on Thursday morning. “It’s one of those things you read it, you laugh about it and that’s it.
“I heard about it yesterday for the first time on the bus, but I think in the end of the day, we should just play golf. It’s fairly simple. If things like this start, it’s a little — I don’t know if that’s necessary.”
Naturally, the Germanator is above such jabs.
On Wednesday, Mickelson was asked if the Americans have struggled in the Ryder Cup because they aren’t as close as the Europeans. “Not only are we able to play together, we also don’t litigate against each other, and that’s a real plus,” he quipped.
Mickelson was referring to the ongoing lawsuit between McIlroy and his former management company, Horizon, which represents McDowell. The litigation has inevitably pulled McDowell into the fray when documents were almost presented in court that would have divulged intimate details about McDowell’s financial situation — instead, a judge ordered the proceedings to be revealed in a private proceeding.
Justin Rose dismissed Mickelson’s remarks as a harmless joke.
“Of course it’s a bit of banter and getting things going,” said Rose on Thursday morning. “We don’t have a problem with that at all. There’s no real angst between the players from that point of view at all, and in our team room, it’s a non-issue. I’ve obviously been observing Rory and G-Mac, too, and they have been getting on great and playing golf and hanging out and having dinners together. The atmosphere is fantastic in our team room.”
Ian Poulter backed up Rose’s view.
“You need to see how Rory and G-Mac are in the team room,” said the beast mode of the Ryder Cup. “They are very comfortable. There’s no — there’s no animosity in there whatsoever. The guys are good. So I just have to laugh at the comment.”
Naturally, Mickelson’s jibe was brought up on the European team’s bus ride to the gala and in the team room. However, Phil approached Rory last night to make sure he knew it was just for giggles.
“Phil came up to Rory last night and was like, hey, this and that,” said Rose. “It’s no real big deal. Obviously if someone says something — I’ll call it banter and nothing more serious than that…Among friends, Phil loves the banter and he loves to throw a few bobs out there, which is great.”
After Phil finished his 10-hole practice round at Gleneagles, he was asked what the reception was from the Europeans. “Just like it always is,” said Phil, pretending he didn’t understand the tacit reference to the question. It was clear he didn’t want the story to continue and draw more attention that it already had.
Asked if he received any negative comments or reaction from the fans on Thursday morning, Mickelson replied, with a big smile, “No, what do you mean? What are you talking about? What’s so funny?”
Just Phil being Phil.