Tom Watson tabbed as U.S. Ryder Cup captain
New York, NY (Sports Network) - The PGA of America officially announced on Thursday that Tom Watson will again lead the United States Ryder Cup team in 2014 at Gleneagles.
Watson, 63, captained the 1993 squad to a 15-13 victory at the Belfry. That was the last win for the U.S. on foreign soil. On that team was 2012 Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, who was making his first appearance in the event.
"I've been waiting for about 20 years to get the call. I loved it the first time, and I've been a great fan of the Ryder Cup," Watson said on the Today Show, where the announcement was first made official. "I get the same gut feeling watching it on TV.
"It's just a great honor to be able to do it again. This time, we need 14 1/2 points."
The 2014 Ryder Cup will take place at The PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles, and will be contested Sept. 26-28, 2014. That will mark the first time the event has been played in Scotland since 1973.
Watson is a five-time British Open champion and three-time Senior British Open winner. Seven of those eight titles have come in Scotland.
The European squad staged an epic rally earlier this year to win the Ryder Cup in dramatic fashion after trailing by four points entering the Sunday singles. The Europeans collected an improbable 8 1/2 points to win the Cup by a point. It was the second straight 1-point win for the Europeans.
That cut the Unites States' lead in the event to 25-12-2, but the Europeans have won five of the last six and seven of the last nine Ryder Cups.
"The most important thing is that we'll pull out all the stops to beat you guys. The bottom line is to win. That's the most important thing," said Watson in response to what the Europeans can take from his selection. "We're tired of losing. I always said that early in my career I learned to win by hating to lose. It's about time to start winning again for our team. That's the attitude that I hope my players have. It's time to stop losing."
Watson competed last weekend at the Australian Open, and after the final round was asked if he wanted to lead the U.S. team again. That was the first time he appeared to be in the running for the job.
Among the candidates that were likely considered were Larry Nelson, David Toms and Fred Couples -- all with solid captaincy resumes.
Nelson is a three-time major champion, a World Golf Hall of Famer and three- time Ryder Cup performer. He has long been overlooked despite a 9-3-1 lifetime record in the event. Toms, a 13-time PGA Tour winner, captured the 2001 PGA Championship, while Couples will lead the U.S. Presidents Cup team next year for a third time and was Love's assistant this past year.
"I'm happy for Tom, but really sad for me," Nelson told Golf Channel. "Disappointed is probably the best word to use. I really felt like that there was a pretty good chance with all the people talking about it would be great, and it looked like there was a possibility of doing it. Kind of last minute that Tom Watson's name came up.
"Kind of disappointed. I can't get sad. You've got a lot of guys that deserve it once, and to give it to someone twice, I didn't understand that."
PGA of America president Ted Bishop said he started the process thinking about Watson after the 2011 Grand Slam of Golf.
"I reached out to Tom about 13 months ago to start the dialog, first of all to gauge if he had any interest in doing this," Bishop stated. "I put together an 85-page document on all the reasons why I thought Tom Watson should be our next Ryder Cup captain. I had great support from my fellow PGA officers.
"Our criteria has always been a major champion whose played in multiple Ryder Cups. Ryder Cup in and Ryder Cup out, the list will fluctuate on who fits that criteria. We're always charged with finding the captain that we think is the best captain under the circumstances in the venue that we're going to play at. We unanimously came to the conclusion that Tom was the guy that we wanted to conduct the formal interview with."
In all, Watson won eight major championships on the PGA Tour. The only major he did not win was the PGA Championship, where he lost in a playoff in 1978. Watson had led after the first three rounds, before a closing 73 dropped him into the playoff in which John Mahaffey beat Jerry Pate and Watson.
The 1988 World Golf Hall of Fame inductee made four Ryder Cup appearances as a player and tallied a 10-4-1 record. Watson went 4-1-1 in foursomes play and 4-1 in fourballs, but just 2-2 in singles matches.
Watson will be 65 at the time of the Ryder Cup making him the oldest captain in event history. J.H. Taylor was 62 when he captained the 1933 European squad. Sam Snead was the oldest previous U.S. captain. He was 57 when he led the 1969 team.
12/13 11:55:25 ET