Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
The benching of the unbeaten Mickelson/Bradley duo on Saturday will be second guessed for a long time.
The United States raced out to a lead of 10-6 over the first two days of competition.
The play of the Keegan Bradley/Phil Mickelson team was a huge reason for that lead. The duo beat Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia 4&3 in the Friday morning foursomes and beat the world's No. 1 Rory McIlroy and teammate Graeme McDowell 2&1 in the Friday afternoon fourball.
They continued the hot streak by crushing Lee Westwood and Luke Donald 7&6 in the Saturday morning foursomes.
Bradley played unbelievably and was a huge factor in revving up the hugely partisan United States fans at Medinah, as he went into fist-pump frenzies after sinking huge putt after huge putt.
They were a perfect pairing.
Mickelson kept Bradley's emotions in check, and Bradley fired up Mickelson.
They were unstoppable and unbeatable.
They sat Saturday afternoon.
After the Saturday morning match, Mickelson told the Golf Channel via the Chicago Tribune:
Historically and mathematically, the guys who have played five matches have not done as well in the singles. We want to make sure we're rested and focused on the singles. We have a lot of guys who are playing great golf who need to get out and play as well.
This may be true but once again, the Ryder Cup was decided by one point.
It's no guarantee that Mickelson and Bradley would have won their afternoon match on Saturday, but with the way they were playing, I certainly wouldn't have bet against it.
You take one point away from team Europe and give it to team USA, and it's 11-5 going into the Sunday singles.
Huge difference between 10-6 and 11-5.
Europe played out of their minds on Sunday and got 8.5 points. If Mickelson and Bradley play and get that extra point, that gives the United States 14.5 points and Europe 13.5 points.
The Ryder Cup would have been won by the United States with 14.5 points.
At the post-event press conference on the Golf Channel, Mickelson told the press that he and Bradley were physically and emotionally exhausted after the Saturday afternoon match, and said that he urged captain Davis Love III to not put them out there.
Despite this urging, Love needed to be the bad guy by going against Mickelson's needs and needed to make Bradley and Mickelson play in the Saturday afternoon matches.
This "nice guy" decision will be one that will be second-guessed for a long, long time.