Mickelson has jovial dig at Irish duo

Being cheeky - Phil Mickelson

Being cheeky – Phil Mickelson

Ryder Cup veteran Phil Mickelson offered up a devious snipe at Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell as he staged his pre-Ryder Cup press briefing at Gleneagles.

There has been much debate over the tarnished personal relationship between McIlroy and McDowell in light of the world number one's court case against his former management company, which has brought the two Irishmen into conflict with each other.

Both players and captain Paul McGinley have allayed any concerns but in trying to accentuate the togetherness of the United States team Mickelson joked about the issue.

"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 44-year-old, who added with a smile: "I couldn't resist."

Mickelson's comment was cheeky rather than crude, but it adds fuel to the fire simmering ahead of the eagerly anticipated Europe v USA showdown, which gets under way this Friday.

European captain Paul McGinley later declined to comment on the remark while USA team-mate Rickie Fowler said: "Phil's always Phil, that's why we love him.

"We hear a lot of those one-liners in practice rounds in Tuesday games so it's nothing new to me."

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. I don't think I'm letting go of any secrets here," said the left-hander.

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