2014 Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson has made his first selection for assistant captain and he is staying in familiar territory. Watson’s longtime friend Andy North was the first assistant captain selected by Watson. “My friendship with Andy dates back to 1967,” Watson said. “Any time you have a friend, you can talk honestly to that friend about anything. Whatever conversations I have with Andy, I’ve always known that they’re private and they’re not going to go anywhere else. I really, truly value Andy’s observations.”
North says that he didn’t waste much time in accepting the honor. “It took me maybe a second and a half,” North said. “He didn’t get it out of his mouth before I was giddy, absolutely giddy over the opportunity to not only hopefully have a role to get the cup back, but also to be able to help a dear friend and if I can take a little bit of the responsibility off of his shoulders and make it an easier week for him, that will be awesome for me. I’m looking forward to it, a lot of excitement to the Ryder Cup, it means an awful lot to me.
For those of you that may not be familiar with North, he is a two-time U.S. Open champion, having taken home the title in 1978 and 1985. He was also a member of the 1985 Ryder cup team. More recently, however, he has served as a golf analyst at ESPN since 1993, which is where most people have come to know of him.
This is a smart move by Watson. In choosing North, Watson knows that he has an assistance captain with whom he can speak honestly and candidly. North isn’t just going to tell Watson what he wants to hear. Having experienced a Ryder Cup will also bring even more insight to the American team.
Even though he has only played sporadically, North has been around the game for the last 20 years as an analyst. Those analytical skills are going to be a huge benefit to the American side. North is intimately familiar with evaluating golfers while not interjecting his own feelings into the situation. That is going to prove to be an invaluable asset to the team.