September 25, 2014
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- Rory McIlroy (center) and Graeme McDowell (right) hung out with Martin Kaymer during Wednesday's gala. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
GLENEAGLES, Scotland -- Less than 24 hours after Phil Mickelson's remark about how the American players "don't litigate against each other," the Europeans seem to be taking it more as a joke that a subtle stab at their unity.
"Of couse it's a bit of banter and getting things going," Justin Rose said Thursday morning on the eve of the first Ryder Cup session. "... Nothing more serious than that."
"I just have to laugh at the comment," added Ian Poulter.
On Wednesday, Mickelson was asked about the theory that U.S. Ryder Cup teams aren't winning because they're not as close as the Europeans.
Mickelson's response -- "Not only are we able to play together, we also don't litigate against each other and that's a real plus, I feel, heading into this week" -- was a reference to Rory McIlroy's legal dispute with his former management company, with teammate Graeme McDowell indirectly involved in the process.
Mickelson followed his comment with a smile and added, "I couldn't resist. Sorry."
According to Rose, Mickelson approached McIlroy at Wednesday night's Ryder Cup gala to explain the comment.
"Of course it was mentioned last night," Rose said. "Phil came up to Rory last night and was like, hey, this and that. It's no real big deal."
The issue has been addressed by McDowell earlier this week, and it appears the two have put it aside. European captain Paul McGinley said if the Northern Irishmen are not partners this week, it will be a golf-related decision, not because of their legal issues.
"You need to see how Rory and G-Mac are in the team room," Poulter said. "They are very comfortable. There's no animosity in there whatsoever. The guys are good."
Added Rose: "It's a non-issue. I've obviously been observing Rory and G-Mac, too, and they have been getting on great and playing golf and hanging out and having dinners together. The atmosphere is fantastic in our team room."
As for the U.S. standpoint, it's doubtful any player is surprised by Mickelson's playful jab.
"Phil's always Phil," said Rickie Fowler. "That's why we love him. He's a lot of fun to be around, and we hear a lot of those one-liners in practice rounds in Tuesday games. So it's nothing new to me."