PGA golfer and analyst Brad Faxon joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the Ryder Cup. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The European team led by Rory McIlroy defeated the United States in the tournament this past weekend. There was dissent among the U.S. players over the team that captain Tom Watson selected.
“It’s interesting because Watson really favored these young guys like Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler,” Faxon said. “And then shunned Chris Kirk, who should have been selected on this team immediately. And then the forgotten man Dustin Johnson, whose suspension from the team took the sting out of what could have been a really, really strong U.S. team.”
Phil Mickelson is one of the golfers who did not approve of Watson’s team management, going as far as publicly criticizing the captain.
Said Faxon: “There’s bad blood between Watson and Mickelson, its going back a long time. I think it’s pretty obvious that the two of them don’t like each other. Watson’s an old-school guy. If you brought Vince Lombardi back now to coach the New England Patriots, could he do it? Not saying Tom Watson is Vince Lombardi, here’s a 65-year-old guy, the oldest captain we’ve have in history. But the last captain to win on foreign soil 20 years ago. And also a guy who’s won five Open Championships.”
Continued Faxon: “I think this was just a recipe for disaster from the beginning. And I’ll tell you one thing, Tom Watson, he’s a great champion. But I don’t know if he’s a leader among younger people. And he said to me earlier this year when we were playing a round together, I asked him a few questions about the Ryder Cup and the selection process and how he was managing the whole thing and he said to me, ‘You know what, I’m not having a ping pong table in the team room, I don’t care about having fun, I don’t care about having 12 [expletives] on the team as long as they can make putts.’ ”
Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee went as far as to blame Mickelson as the reason for Team USA’s defeat in the Ryder Cup and also went on to say that Mickelson’s public comments went against golf’s “gentleman’s game” mentality.
“Strong comments by Brandel Chamblee,” Faxon said. “I got to sit along Brandel a few times working for the Golf Channel. I have more respect for Brandel in this industry than anybody. He’s the most prepared guy. He’s got a fantastic memory. Brandel’s not afraid to get on the hot seat. … He’s very strongly opinionated, and he is correct, this is a gentlemen’s game.”
Though he has been a part of a few Ryder Cups, Faxon has never been asked to be the captain of the team. He said he wishes he had the opportunity.
“The PGA of America has a couple of unwritten rules about who would be the captains. And up until now, they’ve always had to be major championship winners and Ryder Cup Players,” Faxon said. “Obviously I never won a major championship. I played in two Ryder Cups. It used to be if you hadn’t won the PGA Championship you couldn’t have been a captain. … I would’ve loved a chance to [be captain].”