It’s official. Tom Watson has been given the nod as the captain of the 2014 United States Ryder Cup team. This is by no means unchartered territory for Watson, as he captained the team in 1993. It just so happens that was the last United States team to win on European soil. Watson is also familiar with the Ryder Cup as a player, having participated in 1977, 1981, 1983 and 1989. It’s clear that he has the experience to be successful once again.
This was a great choice by the PGA of America, especially considering the epic collapse that took place just a few short months ago at Medinah, blowing a 10-6 lead heading into the final day. That epic fail may actually have been what ended up cementing the job for Watson, however. He has been a part of the only two United States team to win on European soil since 1980. He played on one team and was the captain of the other.
This seem like an “all in” move on the part of the PGA to me. The Americans simply cannot afford to keep losing to Europe, especially in such decimating fashion as they’ve seen recently. This is also a somewhat unconventional move by the PGA, as they have generally chosen a major championship winner that was still active on the tour.
It’s about time they rethought that asinine stance. There are myriad people who are qualified to captain the Ryder Cup team that either haven’t won a major or are no longer active on the PGA tour. Just because Watson is a little long in the tooth compared to previous captains doesn’t mean he is any less qualified. In fact, I’d argue that his extensive experience in the Ryder Cup, both as a player and as a captain, makes him uniquely qualified to turn things around for the United States.