Paul McGinley does not believe Phil Mickelson was intentionally trying to insult Hal Sutton, but says his perceived criticism of the former United States captain should act as a warning to players to consider their words wisely during Ryder Cup week.
Mickelson seemingly questioned Sutton's decision to partner him with Tiger Woods in the 2004 instalment, claiming he did not have enough time to practice with his partner's preferred high-spin ball.
Sutton hit back claiming Mickelson's decision to change clubs and ball before the Ryder Cup was "self-serving", prompting the left-hander to issue an apology to the former captain on Thursday.
And McGinley, who captained Europe to victory two years ago, believes Mickelson intended no harm, but was caught up in the drama of the Ryder Cup.
"As a captain, this is a very tricky time. The last week is a very tricky time for Ryder Cup captains, because there are a lot of people talking and making points," he told NBC.
"This is one of the biggest - if not the biggest - show in golf at the moment. You have to be very careful where you are positioning and every word that you say, particularly as a captain.
"I made a big point of avoiding it [the drama]. You can't totally limit it/You don't want distractions. It's almost impossible to control but you can try to limit it as much as you can.
"I really genuinely think that Phil was not trying to bring Hal down. He used a bad example and got caught.
"I learned a lot of humility from Hal Sutton myself. For example, when we left on the Monday morning [after the 2004 Ryder Cup], we left to get a flight back to Europe.
"Hal Sutton and his wife came down into our lobby and shook every one of our hands and wished us the best of luck. That was after a heavy defeat. For that reason, I have massive respect for what Hal Sutton did."