by Jeff Skinner
Few golf writers are better connected than Tim Rosaforte and it looks like Rosie may have a big scoop on his hands. He writes in the Local Knowledge section of Golf Digest that Tom Watson will be named as the captain of the 2014 Ryder Cup Team.
As Clark Griswold said in Christmas Vacation “If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now.” That’s absolutely how I feel.
If Rosie prints it you can bet it’s a fact. And the PGA of America has gone so far outside the box it had been thinking in, they are in a different time zone. I give them credit for shaking things up, God knows they needed to do something and selecting an outspoken Watson who isn’t buddy-buddy with the players is Richter Scale level shaking it up. I am still in shock that the PGA has taken such a bold step.
Here’s the gist of Rosaforte’s article: The one criticism I keep hearing about the United States in Ryder Cup competition is too much deferring by the captain, too much a team by committee. I also keep hearing the PGA of America and its new president Ted Bishop wants to shake things up. So what better way to go back in time than bring back Tom Watson, which my sources say they plan to do.
Watson said at the Australian Open that it would be “cool” and “an honor” to come back as captain, so he’s on board. The announcement will be made Thursday on the “Today” show Thursday morning. Larry Nelson, a two-time PGA champion long overlooked by the PGA, said he has not been contacted. Next in line among contemporary players would be David Toms, the 2001 PGA champion. I’d expect Toms, 46, to get the call in 2016, when the competition returns to the United States at Hazeltine in Minnesota.
As for Watson, and why he’s a good fit, the reasons jump off the page: Last winning away captain for the United States; revered in Scotland, where the competition is being held at the Gleneagles Resort in 2014; a legend younger players would look up to and respect — because he’s not afraid to speak his mind or make a decision. That was the case in 1993, when he captained the U.S. to victory at The Belfry.
You may remember Watson outraged several European players, most noticeably Sam Torrance, by refusing to participate in the tradition passing of the menus for autographs. You may not remember that Watson made most of the calls on pairings and slots in the singles lineup.