Tom Watson set to captain United States' Ryder Cup team in 2014

 

Tom Watson is set to be unveiled tomorrow as the surprise choice to captain the United States for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

Watson was skipper the last time the Americans won the trophy in Europe but has not been to a Ryder Cup match since that triumph at The Belfry back in 1993.

After seeing their squad throw away a 10-6 lead under Davis Love III at this year’s Cup at Medinah, the PGA of America have placed their faith in Watson to inspire the States to their first victory since 2008.

The 63-year-old eight-time Major champion will be the oldest US captain, surpassing Sam Snead, who was 57 when he led the 1969 side to a draw at Royal Birkdale.

Watson (right) will be the first repeat captain since Jack Nicklaus, who beat the Europeans in 1983 but lost to Tony Jacklin’s men four years later.

Golf Digest reported on its website last night that the PGA of America had chosen Watson but a spokesman for the organisation would only say:  “We look forward to sharing the news of the 2014 Ryder Cup captain on Thursday.”

The captain will be officially unveiled during a segment on the Today show on NBC, which broadcasts the Ryder Cup in America. That will be followed by a press conference in New York’s Empire State Building.

Watson said at the weekend it would be a “great honour if I got tapped on the shoulder,” but added he had not spoken to the PGA.

Watson has not played a full US PGA Tour schedule in 14 years, although he is still capable of showing the young kids a thing or two as one of the cleanest ball‑strikers in history. It was only three years ago that Watson stood eight feet away from capturing The Open at Turnberry at age 59.

It will be interesting to see what the reaction is to Watson’s appointment.

David Toms, who spoke to the selection  committee during the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in August, Jeff Sluman, Scott Verplank and three-time Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples had all been mentioned as contenders for the job.

There was also support for 65‑year‑old Larry Nelson. The three‑time Major champion has a
9-3-1 Ryder Cup record and won all five of his matches in 1979, beating Seve Ballesteros in four of them.

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