Phil Mickelson led American amateur golfers to an 8-4 lead over Britain and Ireland on the first day of the Walker Cup competition Thursday and was accused of being arrogant.
Mickelson was one of four Americans to win both a foursomes and singles on the opening day at Portmarnock, Ireland.
Scotsman Andrew Coltart, who was beaten by Mickelson 4 and 3, did not like the American's reaction when he was asked to sink an 18-inch putt to halve the ninth hole.
Mickelson held his putter horizontally just off the ground to indicate to the large gallery how far away the hole was. He made it clear he did not think he should have to putt.
"I've seen Seve Ballesteros miss a putt that long, and there's no place for what he did in this game," Coltart said. "It was derogatory.
"He's a bit arrogant, but you get people like that. This event is supposed to be about making friends, but I would never dream of doing what he did."
"I was only joking," Mickelson said. "But if he was offended then I'll speak to him and say 'sorry.' "
Mickelson and Bob May of La Habra started the Americans' bid to regain the title by scoring a 5 and 3 victory over Jim Milligan and Garry Hay of Scotland.
The U.S. team won all four foursomes before the defending champions rallied in the singles.
May was five under par in beating Ricky Willison, 2 and 1.
Craig Stadler fought off a cold and shot an eight-under-par 64 to tie Jim Benepe for the lead after one round of the Canadian Open.
"A lot better than I expected to play," Stadler said. "And one hell of a lot better than last year."
Last year, Stadler struggled to an 83 in the first round--19 strokes higher than his nine-birdie effort on the same Glen Abbey Golf Club course at Oakville.
"This was fun," Stadler said. "Every once in a while this game is fun. This was a day when everything went right."
Benepe, too, more than exceeded his expectations.
"I certainly didn't expect a 64," he said.
There was good reason for surprise. He had missed the cut in 18 of 23 starts this season.
Brian Kamm, who made a run at the U.S. Open title until shooting a 42 over the final nine holes, was one stroke back with a 65 that he called "probably my best round on the tour."
Loren Roberts, Kelly Gibson and Jim McGovern were at 67.
British Open title-holder Ian Baker-Finch shot 68 and was tied with Ray Stewart, who is attempting to become the first Canadian in 37 years to win his country's national championship.