Altvater: Is Tom Watson the right choice for Ryder Cup captain?Written by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Tom Watson is one of the greats in the world of golf. He won 39 PGA Tour events in his career, including eight major championships. Five of his major victories were Open Championships. He is beloved in Scotland and throughout Europe.
Incoming PGA president Ted Bishop made a management decision to shake things up and bring in a no-nonsense huge name that has positive history to lead the USA Ryder Cup team.
The USA record over the past nine Ryder Cups is 2-7. The two Ryder Cups that the USA team has won were on home soil at Brookline in 1999 and at Valhalla in 2008. The last time the Americans won on European soil was when Watson was the captain in 1993 at the Belfry.
Watson commands the room. He has an aura that demands respect among his peers and the young players that will make up the 2014 Ryder Cup team.
There won’t be any Paul Azinger pods or touchy feely new age séances for Watson. He will direct his players in simple easy to understand language. The players won’t be polled to make them feel good. Watson will make the pairings and demand performance from his players.
Will there be a “Generation Gap”? Perhaps. Watson will be 65 years old in 2014 when the Ryder Cup will be held at Gleneagles. But is it the responsibility of the captain to relate to the player or of the player to relate to the captain?
The new breed of PGA Tour player will not want to disappoint a legend. Just maybe they will become a little more serious about their golf game and not so much about who wins the ping pong match in the team room.
The USA Ryder Cup team needed some change. The PGA has decided to go off the beaten path and choose Tom Watson to lead the USA back to Ryder Cup success.