Phil Mickelson upbeat on Ryder Cup

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Phil Mickelson, in his first public comments since the final day of the Ryder Cup, spoke favorably Thursday about the fallout he helped initiate, saying he expects good things to come from the task force that has been formed to address the U.S. team's issues.

Speaking after his first round of 2015 at the Humana Challenge, Mickelson said he was pleased with the new direction.

"It's the first time the players have really been involved in the decision-making process from the start," Mickelson said after shooting a 1-under-par 71 at La Quinta Country Club. "I think it's going to be very impactful in the overall experience."

Mickelson, 44, was part of an eighth losing U.S. team in 10 tries when the Americans lost to Europe 16½ to 11½ at Gleneagles in Scotland.

And he helped spark a tumultuous aftermath that included criticism of U.S. captain Tom Watson during a tense news conference. Mickelson wondered aloud why the players were not consulted more and why a system used previously had been abandoned.

"Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best," Mickelson said on Sept. 28.

Controversy ensued, with news reports describing friction with Watson, the eight-time major champion who was getting a second shot at the captaincy 21 years after he led the last U.S. team to victory on foreign soil.

Part of the difficulty included Mickelson being benched for an entire session that Saturday, when the U.S. fell behind 10-6.

Typically the U.S. would have named the 2016 captain by now, but that is on hold as the PGA of America decided to form a task force that includes players such as Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and Rickie Fowler, along with past captains Raymond Floyd, Davis Love III and Tom Lehman. There are also three representatives from the PGA of America.

Mickelson, a Hall of Famer who has never missed the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup since his first Presidents Cup in 1994, said he is not interested in being captain in 2016 and wants to continue playing.

"I'm more about looking forward and trying to move forward from it and to really make the next 10 Ryder Cups the best we can," Mickelson said. "We have some really smart guys with a lot of great input. We have another meeting soon. And I think it will get us on the right track with a good game plan with good continuity from year to year. I'm excited.

"Who knows if it will bring the results we want or not. But there's a lot of good smart people in there. We're moving forward and trying to make this work. And that's exciting I think."

Asked if he felt his Sunday news conference comments were intended to spark the change that has occurred, Mickelson said: "I don't really want to go into the details of it. That conversation wasn't the first time I've had that conversation.

"I'm just excited that we're at where we are now. We're moving forward and we're actually bringing some great people together with a lot of great insight and input and great perspective over the years. Guys who have been on a number of teams, guys who have been on winning teams in the past.

"I just think there is a lot of great input and I'm excited now about what we're doing. How we got there. ... it doesn't matter. We're going to make it a great experience for the next generation of players."