mickel' to find ryder captain
Watson critic to form US task force with Tiger
PHIL MICKELSON and Tiger Woods are being lined up to form part of a task force to decide on a new system to appoint the United States Ryder Cup captain, in the wake of Tom Watson's disastrous tenure at Gleneagles.
Mickelson had initially been heavily criticised for going public with his irritation at Watson in the post-match press conference in Scotland last month. Since then, however, damning details have emerged of Watson's leadership style, with the 65-year-old accused of failing to support his players in private meetings, snubbing a gift presented to him by his team and failing to communicate during America's 16ƒ-11ƒ defeat by Europe.
Now Pete Bevacqua, the chief executive of the Professional Golfers' Association of America, has decided to set up a working group to identify a better strategy for the next Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National, south-west Minnesota, in 2016.
"The decision has been made to assemble a task force that will include PGA of America representation, past captains and current players to really dive into an open analysis of all aspects of the Ryder Cup to see what we can do to improve and give Team USA its very best chances of success," said Bevacqua.
"We're in the process of assembling that task force. It will give everyone a little bit of ownership.
"It's going to be a healthy, inclusive process.''
It is anticipated that Mickelson and Woods will both be asked to form part of this task force, and are likely to be joined by the likes of Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker and past captains such as Paul Azinger and Watson.
In the longer term it is thought that Fred Couples could be invited to see if his laissez-faire style of captaincy, which has been so successful in the Presidents Cup, can flourish in the far more tense environs of the Ryder Cup. As Mickelson said in those calculated criticisms of Watson, Couples employs Azinger's "pod system", which involves having three groups of four players.
Couples would be likely to have Stricker as an assistant and, from then on, the captain will be elected from inside the team room, as with the Europeans.
The US rookie Patrick Reed, who was booed by home supporters at Gleneagles for holding his finger up to his lips, will return to Britain this month to contest the 2014 Volvo World Matchplay Championship.
Reed, who won three of his four matches at Gleneagles, will form part of a 16-man field on the International Course at the London Golf Club, Kent, as the tournament celebrates its 50th anniversary on October 15-19.
He will again go head-to-head with six members of the triumphant European Ryder Cup team, including the defending champion Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher.
Reed, who has won two PGA titles this year, said: "Although we suffered a very disappointing loss at Gleneagles, I enjoyed the competition of my first Ryder Cup and can't wait to get back out there to play in another matchplay event in the UK."