MEDINAH, Ill. – Phil Mickelson hailed his unbeaten pairing with Keegan Bradley as the best American duo in Ryder Cup history after their record-tying victory on Saturday morning.
Following their two big wins on Friday, Mickelson and Bradley were even better in their foursomes match (alternate shot format) against Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, trouncing the Europeans 7 and 6.
That feat, against the Nos. 2 and 3 in the world, no less, matched the largest margin of victory in a team match since the Ryder Cup went to its current format in 1979, and was a testament to the closeness and spirit Mickelson and Bradley have quickly built.
Asked on television if there had ever been a tighter-knit and more dynamic team in event history, Mickelson said: "Not on the American side. The European side has had some great teammates.
"To be able to share this experience with Keegan and partake in his great play and experience the Ryder Cup together has been awesome."
Bradley became just the fourth rookie from either side to go 3-0 to begin his Ryder Cup career. Still, despite Mickelson's and Bradley's success together, U.S. captain Davis Love III sat them for the final pairs session Saturday afternoon.
When he dropped Tiger Woods for the Saturday morning matches, Love insisted no one on his team would play all five sessions. Mickelson indicated he and Bradley would enjoy a well-earned rest.
"Historically and mathematically guys have not done so well in singles if they have played every session," Mickelson said. "We have got some great guys who need to get out there playing and we might have the opportunity to get some rest, so don't be surprised."
Mickelson has long struggled in Ryder Cup matches, struggling to build chemistry with any of his 14 previous partners. However, Love's decision to play him alongside Bradley has been a revelation, and the 42-year-old's form has been nothing short of sensational.
Bradley's energy and intensity has allowed Mickelson's game to flow. For the second session in a row, he effectively closed out proceedings with a majestic long iron to within a few feet.
Westwood and Donald simply had no answer and were unable to win a single hole as the Americans went ahead early and steadily built upon their lead.
"This has been an experience beyond anything I could have imagined," Bradley said. "It is a great mixture of the pride and honor that you feel from representing your country, the fun of playing and sharing the experience with a great player like Phil, and the energy of performing in front of a crowd like this that is all fired up."
The record victory margin matched the effort of Hale Irwin and Tom Kite in 1979 and that of Paul Azinger and Mark O'Meara in 1991. Kite and Fred Couples have racked up bigger victories in singles play, recording 8-and-7 wins.
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