Mickelson rests as his team-mates go with tried and tested routine

Phil Mickelson, the Masters champion, sat out the second practice day for the 35th Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills yesterday. The American left-hander did seven and a half hours' practice on Monday, studying the course and all the different pin positions as he has in the week before all four of this season's major championships.

Phil Mickelson, the Masters champion, sat out the second practice day for the 35th Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills yesterday. The American left-hander did seven and a half hours' practice on Monday, studying the course and all the different pin positions as he has in the week before all four of this season's major championships.

While Tiger Woods and Mark Calcavecchia were criticised at The Belfry two years ago for practising one morning at 6.30am - before the spectators arrived but in keeping with Tiger's usual routine - Mickelson's decision was the greatest expression yet of the US captain Hal Sutton's insistence that his players prepare as they would any other week of the year.

"Phil came to me this morning and said he does not usually play on the Wednesday of majors and this was a major and he wasn't going to play," Sutton said. "I told him that he shouldn't change his routine."

Sutton added: "If anyone else wants a pass tomorrow, they'll get one. I've told my players to worry about themselves. If I can get the best out of each of them, then it could come together as a team effort that could be brilliant."

American teams have sometimes struggled in the fourballs and foursomes but Sutton has completely ignored the traditional preparation for team competition of trying out different combinations in practice. Apart from Mickelson sitting out, Tiger Woods and Chris DiMarco played together simply because they were ready, followed by a threeball and a fiveball.

Sutton will not tell his players his pairings until this morning, leaving them little time to get used to the idea - if he is planning to put together Woods and Mickelson in the opening fourballs that might be part of his thinking - or to decide which ball to use in the foursomes.

"I know some of the team are slightly apprehensive about things like that but we'll see how this works out," Sutton said. "I know exactly what my pairings are and it is extremely important to get off to a great start. I don't want to be behind the eight ball."

By contrast, there did seem to be clues about Bernhard Langer's intentions, with four possible fourball pairings in Darren Clarke and Miguel Angel Jimenez; Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie; Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia; and Luke Donald and Paul Casey.

Later in the round, they switched to playing foursomes with Clarke playing with Westwood; Jimenez and Thomas Levet; Garcia and Donald; and Harrington and Paul McGinley among the regroupings.

"They are not necessarily going to go out like this on Friday," Langer said. "I don't know myself yet but obviously there was thought that went into it and I will keep watching out everyone is playing in practice."

One of the idiosyncrasies of Oakland Hills is that the four par-threes are on odd-numbered holes and the four par-fives are on even-numbered holes. This means that if everything goes according to play, one player will be putting first on 12 of the greens and the other only on six. It also indicates that a stronger driver will tee off on the evens and the better iron player on the odds.

But it was the greens that the Europeans were paying attention to. "You don't see many courses with greens like these," Langer said. "They are very severe in their slopes. The only place that comes to mind is Augusta."

Perhaps the Europeans' past success at the Masters will be a good omen.

News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine