Mickelson: We're still the underdogs

Ryder Cup veteran Phil Mickelson insists the United States remain underdogs at Gleneagles despite making fun of the speculation about disharmony in the European team.

Mickelson: We're still the underdogs

Ryder Cup veteran Phil Mickelson insists the United States remain underdogs at Gleneagles despite making fun of the speculation about disharmony in the European team.

America have lost seven of the last nine meetings and the hosts remain favourites but the 44-year-old left-hander could not resist having a joke at their expense.

"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," said the five-time major winner, who added with a smile: "I couldn't resist."

He was referring to Rory McIlroy's court case against former management company Horizon - who currently represent compatriot Graeme McDowell who has been dragged into the dispute merely by association.

Both players and captain Paul McGinley have allayed any concerns previously but the latter declined to comment on the American's comments.

Back on the subject of golf Mickelson insists they are comfortable being billed as the underdog as the US seek to arrest their slump.

"Certainly we're here without Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Jason Dufner and we're playing a team that has players like McIlroy and (Henrik) Stenson, who have played just incredible golf over the years," he added.

"But rather than focus on what we don't have, what we do have a great group of 12 guys that are hopefully bringing our best games to Scotland because we are going to need it to make it a tight race and a close one for Sunday.

"We are the underdog and the expectations certainly aren't high.

"It takes some of the pressure off knowing that we are on away soil. We have not won here in 20 years."

Mickelson will become the first American to play in 10 Ryder Cups this week when he will reprise the partnership with Keegan Bradley.

"I've got a good partner that obviously I'm going to play again with Keegan," he said of the man with whom he won three points in the first three sessions at Medinah two years ago.

"I don't think I'm letting go of any secrets here."

Bradley admits Mickelson remains his favoured partner as the pair have grown close over the last few years.

"I like to send him little clips of videos from our matches, highlights," said the 28-year-old, who admits he fell in love with the Ryder Cup at Brookline in 1999 when as a child he remembers running onto the 18th green at the conclusion of America's victory.

"Phil is way into strategy and talking through what we need to do. We just keep telling each other that there's no one we'd rather be out there with than each other.

"We just match up well. I let him talk. I let him, you know, decide the decisions. He thinks I'm letting him.

"In alternate-shot (foursomes) I know Phil can get up-and-down from anywhere so if I hit a bad shot he can wedge it or chip it and do whatever he does."

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