Azinger is amenable to idea of captaining USA again

United States team captain Paul Azinger, left, discusses a shot with Stewart Cink at the Ryder Cup in 2008.
United States team captain Paul Azinger, left, discusses a shot with Stewart Cink at the Ryder Cup in 2008.
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Phil Mickelson could get his wish after Paul Azinger said yesterday he was open to a second spell as USA’s Ryder Cup captain.

Mickelson caused controversy on Sunday when, within two hours of the United States suffering a third straight defeat in the biennial contest, he criticised the approach of captain Tom Watson.

With Watson sitting just a few feet away, Mickelson – who had been left out of a full day’s play on Saturday for the first time in 10 Ryder Cup appearances – stated his support for the methods of Azinger, who captained the side to their last win at Valhalla in 2008.

“Unfortunately we have strayed from a winning formula for the last three Ryder Cups and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best,” Mickelson said.

Asked if he would captain the side again, Azinger told USA Today: “I’m not going to rule anything out.”

The 54-year-old said the United States needed to move away from appointing “lone wolf” captains, instead copying the European model of selecting players who had experience of the Ryder Cup as vice-captains.

Of the past 10 US captains, only two had previously been vice-captains.

“There is a razor-thin line between winning and losing these matches,” Azinger added.

“Europe has the intangible right now. They give themselves the extra one per cent chance to win through its business model and cohesiveness.

“Even if you play blackjack perfectly in a casino, the casino still has a very slight edge against you.

“Right now Europe is the casino and the US is the guy walking to the blackjack table with a fistful of 50s.”