Billy Horschel reckons Phil Mickelson’s recent behaviour could have scuppered his chances of ever becoming the US Ryder Cup captain.
Mickelson, 51, has long been considered the front-runner to lead the United States into the 2025 match at Bethpage in New York.
However, according to Horschel, the six-time major champion could have dealt that prospect a fatal blow with inflammatory comments he has made about the PGA Tour. In a Golf Digest piece published just over a fortnight ago, Mickelson lashed out at the circuit’s “obnoxious greed”.
In a more recent interview, with former Sports Illustrated writer Alan Shipnuck last week, he added that he had used overtures from a proposed Saudi-funded breakaway golf tour as “leverage” to force the PGA Tour to bow to concessions he believes it should be making.
Those remarks were called “naïve, egotistical, selfish and ignorant” by Rory McIlroy and, with most of the game’s top names now having distanced themselves from the so-called ‘Saudi Golf League’, reigning US PGA champion Mickelson now cuts something of an isolated figure.
Speaking with the Golf Channel’s Matt Adams on Adams’ Fairways of Life Podcast, Horschel branded Mickelson’s comments as “idiotic” and “false”, adding that he now thinks it will be difficult for him to ever be the Ryder Cup captain.
“It’s going to be interesting,” said the 35-year-old. “I would say at this point right now, if that decision had to be made, if the Ryder Cup was next year for Bethpage, and we all thought he was going to get it and that decision was going to be made, it would be hard-pressed for me to see him actually getting that spot. I would think they would sort of say, hey, we just can’t go down that route.
“But, you know, we’re three or four years away from that timeline, and things can be corrected, and people can admit wrong and do things the right way going forward.
“At the same time, how much does Phil actually want to be captain? That’s an honest question. If what he really wants to be is a Ryder Cup captain, maybe there’s some way for him to sort of fix anything that has hurt him from possibly being in that spot.”