Jaime Diaz of Golf Digest pieces together the key behind-the-scenes theatrics between Tom Watson and his 2014 Ryder Cup team. What emerges is a portrait of old school not meshing with new school, among other issues
This sounds like a nice starting point for the Watson-Mickelson disdain.
Potential discord was evident in July 2013 at The Greenbrier Classic. Through the caddie grapevine, it got back to Mickelson that Watson had told his playing partners, "I won't be afraid to bench one of these prima donnas." The consensus was that he had been talking primarily about Woods and Mickelson.
As for the Mickelson benching Saturday, Diaz confirms the final news was delivered to Mickelson via text. Old school goes new school!
Mickelson lobbied hard to get Watson to change his mind, asking in person and then texting him. At least one assistant captain was in favor, advising Watson that if Mickelson didn't play at all on Saturday, it could cause a distracting controversy.
According to one observer, Watson said, "Yeah, I know. But I can deal with that." Watson then texted Mickelson to tell him he wasn't playing and to get ready for his singles match.
There was this from former PGA President Ted Bishop:
"It's very sad," Bishop says. "Tom is an icon, and he gave two years of his life to this job. He had a time-honored old-school style, but with Bubba [Watson] and Patrick Reed, guys he thought might need some extra care, he put his hands on their shoulders and talked to them.
"It was different with Phil. Those two rubbed each other the wrong way."
Note to Ben Crenshaw for the Masters Champions Dinner seating chart: Watson on one side of Phil, Vijay on the other side would probably not be a good idea.