Lee Westwood was disappointed to see stories from the American team room at the Ryder Cup complaining about Tom Watson as the captain, saying Wednesday those matters should be kept private and "nothing good can come of all this."
Westwood has played in nine Ryder Cups, winning for the seventh time when Europe beat the Americans at Gleneagles two weeks ago.
In recent days, various reports have quoted unidentified sources in the U.S. team room that Watson was a heavy-handed captain who was dismissive of the team gift, spoke negatively to his players and didn't communicate with them. That led to Watson writing an "open letter" over the weekend to say he regrets it if his message to the team came out the wrong way and that he takes full responsibility for any mistakes.
"From my point of view, I think it's a little bit disappointing to see the dirty laundry being out in public, first and foremost," Westwood said at the Frys.com Open. "It's very difficult to pinpoint in a team environment whose fault it specifically is. It's a combination of a lot of different things. Yeah, maybe Tom got a few things wrong. Maybe the U.S. team just didn't quite play well enough in general. 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 with great reputations ... being brought down by something that shouldn't really happen in public," he said. "It should all be done behind closed doors and sorted out there, and the analysis should start there, and not be done in the press."
Westwood knows that feeling.
He was benched for the first time in 2008 when Europe, with six-time major champion Nick Faldo as its captain, lost for the only time in the last 15 years. The European players defended Faldo at the closing press conference and closed ranks in the months that followed.
"I think there were a lot of people disappointed in `08, but we tried to come together and basically not say anything in public," Westwood said. "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."
Phil Mickelson spoke on the final day at Gleneagles of how the Americans have strayed from a winning formula it had in 2008, praising endlessly the work of captain Paul Azinger at Valhalla even as Watson sat six seats away and listened to him. In a tense press conference, Watson's rebuttal was that he had a different philosophy.
Matt Kuchar said he was unaware of the post-Ryder Cup stories because he hasn't turned on his TV or read the Internet since he returned from Scotland. Kuchar said he didn't think Mickelson was taking a shot at Watson, rather answering a question about what worked for the Americans in 2008.
"Whatever was aired out, I'm sure it was blown out of proportion," Kuchar said.
The PGA of America plans to wait until early next year to appoint its next captain and is contemplating a task force to figure out how to developing a winning culture. As much as the Americans will remember that closing press conference, Westwood said the Europeans won't forget it, either.
"It can't do anything but building confidence for the European team going into the next one, that it's been handled so publicly this time," he said. "The fact that the fallout from the Ryder Cup on the U.S. side is being handled publicly and there's stuff being thrown backward and forward and stuff like that, we will remember that going into the next Ryder Cup. I guess we'll see how easy it is to get the U.S. team rattled by putting a bit of pressure on them.
"I don't think anything good can come of all this."
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