RYDER CUP winner Lee Westwood has criticised the United States team for airing “dirty laundry in public” after their defeat at Gleneagles last month.
In the immediate wake of Europe’s 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 victory, American veteran Phil Mickelson openly criticised the captaincy of Tom Watson, sat a few feet away from him, at the post-tournament press conference.
That has led to a fortnight of apologies, inquests and soul-searching about what can be done to end the European dominance of the event.
“I think it’s a little bit disappointing to see the dirty laundry being out in public,” said Westwood, back on American soil playing in the PGA Tour’s Frys.com Open in California this week.
“It’s very difficult to pin-point in a team environment whose fault it specifically is.
“It’s a combination of a lot of different things. Maybe Tom got a few things wrong. Maybe the US team just didn’t quite play well enough in general. You know, if the other team plays well, you’re going to lose.
“I’m just pleased that I don’t have to sort it all out because I don’t like to see people’s great reputations being brought down by something that shouldn’t really happen in public.
“It should all be done behind closed doors and sorted out there, and the analysis should start there, really, and not be done in the press, in the media.”
Westwood was part of the team which lost at Valhalla in 2008 and while there were a number of issues with Nick Faldo’s captaincy then no-one in the European team broke ranks with their frustrations.
“I think there were a lot of people disappointed in ‘08 but we tried to come together and basically not say anything in public,” added Westwood at his pre-tournament press conference.
“Whenever you lose you’re going to be disappointed and you’re going to think things could have been done better.
“It’s just a case of managing it and handling it and improving it for the next time professionally.
“Certainly for the future Ryder Cups the Europeans will remember how it’s all been handled.
“The European team will remember the fall-out from this one. It can’t do anything but build confidence for the European team going into the next one that it’s been handled so publicly this time.
“I guess we’ll see how easy it is to get the US team rattled by putting a bit of pressure on them. I don’t think anything good can come of all this (for the Americans).”
Matt Kuchar, a member of the losing team at Gleneagles, said he had avoided everything to do with defeat since returning home.
“I played the Ryder Cup and then haven’t turned on the TV since I was home. I’ve watched some football games and some baseball games, but I don’t look online to see anything,” he said.
“Phil answered a question. It didn’t seem like it was at all a shot at Tom Watson to me.
“Phil was asked the last time the US won they had a pod system under Paul Azinger, ‘Why do you think they went away from the system, did you prefer the system?’ and Phil said ‘Yeah’.
“With that I guess it opened up a can of worms but you’ve got to remember Phil being asked a second question, and he said ‘Listen, don’t take it that way. This is not a shot at Tom’, so I’m sure it’s blown out of proportion.”