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An open letter to Phil Mickelson on the eve of the Ryder Cup

Dear Phil,

We've had some crazy times, haven't we? All those years when you were hitting it left so often you might as well have been a member of MoveOn.org, I stood by you didn't I?

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I defended you, in private and in print, when Tiger Woods was picking pieces of you out of his spikes. I got in arguments when people made fun of your man boobs. I told people you were going to figure out how to make short putts under pressure, even when you puked up leads more often than the girls on Rock of Love puked up fruity drinks. When you finally won your first Masters, I screamed like I was watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. I was so loud and rowdy, I think my neighbors thought someone was arm wrestling an elephant.

So know that when I say this, I say it with love: It's time to bring your A-game and help the United States win the damn Ryder Cup. Enough excuses. You're the second-most talented player of your generation. This week, it's time to play like it. It's time to help your country regain a little bit of pride and pull off an upset before the Ryder Cup turns into Washington Generals (Yanks) vs. Harlem Globetrotters (Euros). Yes, the Ryder Cup is an over-hyped, manufactured event. It's also one of the best weekends in sports. Watching pampered millionaires dust off their awkward white-guy high-fives every two years never gets old for me.

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I know you don't buy into the idea that you should be a leader, that the mantle of leadership falls on captain Paul Azinger, but you're wrong. This is a chance to re-write your legacy. Tiger isn't around to get in your head, and that's a good thing, because for whatever reason, the two of you act like catty cast members of The Hills whenever you're on the same team. (Sadly, Phil, you're the Heidi to Tiger's L.C. in that analogy. It hurts to type it, but it's true.)

You're 9-12-4 in Ryder Cup play during your career, which is about the same as Tiger (10-13-2), but in 2006 you were an absolute dog, going 0-4-1. That's atrocious. I want to see you bust out that Elvis grin, fire at pins, and make Sergio Garcia eat his smug little balky putter. No one outside of me and Rick Reilly believes you and the rest of the Americans have a chance, which is the perfect position to be in. When is the last time the Europeans were favored to win anything besides a drinking contest or a World Cup? (Not normally a fan of jingoism, the Ryder Cup is the one weekend I openly embrace my inner Ugly American. So pass me a flag pin and one of those big foam fingers -- preferably a middle finger I can point at Sergio.)

We need you, Phil. We need to you bring it, and remind the Euros that even though we didn't invent golf, despite our flaws, we still do it better than anyone else.

Kind of like democracy.

J.B. Holmes hits it so long, it's no wonder he shares his name with the world's most famous porn star. Anthony Kim is a swashbuckling, cocky, star-in-the-making. Boo Weekly is just be goofy enough to laugh off the pressure. He thinks Europeans are cheese-eating, wine-drinking socialists, and while I normally frown on that kind of behavior, I'm ready to embrace it on a temporary basis. You can win with this team. It's not a tired, old group of country club androids with all the personality of a sand wedge.

But this squad needs someone to lead by example.

That's you, Phil. Now step up and kick some Euro tail.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go practice sneezing during Sergio's backswing.

Regards,

KVV

PHOTO: Getty Images

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