Tom Watson is one of the best golfers of all time. And he has been chosen to captain the USA team at the 2014 Ryder Cup; PGA Tour reports:
The Americans are bringing back Tom Watson as Ryder Cup captain with hopes of ending two decades of defeats in Europe.
"We're just really tired of losing Ryder Cup," PGA of America President Ted Bishop said Thursday during a news conference at the Empire State Building.
Watson faces a tall order.
The Americans have lost seven of the last nine Ryder Cups and have not won away from home since 1993, when Watson was the captain at The Belfry in England. They are coming off a staggering loss this year at Medinah, where Europe strung together a remarkable rally from a 10-6 deficit going into the final day to win by one point.
Watson is the first repeat captain for the U.S. team since Jack Nicklaus in 1987, when the Ryder Cup was played on his home course of Muirfield Village in Ohio. Watson, one of the most respected figures in golf worldwide, becomes the seventh U.S. captain to get more than one shot.
His selection received an immediate endorsement from Tiger Woods.
"I'd like to congratulate Tom Watson on his selection as Ryder Cup captain," Woods said in a statement. "I think he's a really good choice. Tom knows what it takes to win, and that's our ultimate goal. I hope I have the privilege of joining him on the 2014 United States Team."
Watson went out of his way Thursday to praise Woods as "the best player maybe in the history of the game."
"My relationship with Tiger is fine," he said. "Whatever has been said before is water under the bridge. No issues."
Watson breaks the PGA of America's prototype in a big way. The eight-time major champion will be 65 when the 2014 Ryder Cup is played at Gleneagles in Scotland, making him the oldest captain in Ryder Cup history. Sam Snead was 57 when he was captain in 1969, and the oldest European captain was John Jacobs (56) in 1981.
Watson has not been back to the Ryder Cup since that `93 victory at The Belfry, though he sounded as if he couldn't wait to get started.
The PGA of America first contacted him more than a year ago about the job, Watson, with that familiar gap-tooth grin, replied: "Boy, I've been waiting for this call for a long time."
The location of the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland is significant. With five Open Championships amongst his eight majors, four of which were won on Scottish links courses, Tom Watson is hugely respected and revered by Scottish golf fans. The Scots invented golf, and they love the way that Watson has embraced links golf; golf as it was intended to be played. That Watson came within inches of winning the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry at the age of 59 merely adds to his legend status.
Tom Watson is an inspired choice as the USA captain. The team will not lack for passion under his captaincy, and Watson's career would probably be complete if he can lead his team to victory in Scotland.