Altvater: Tom Watson goes ‘old school’ for Ryder Cup teamWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Even though the 2014 Ryder Cup will not be contested until the third week of September, it attracts media attention year-round.
Captain Tom Watson announced earlier in the week that Raymond Floyd would join the team as an assistant captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup squad.
Floyd’s last appearance in a Ryder Cup was more than 20 years ago and he will be 72 years old when the matches are held at Gleneagles in Scotland.
Floyd will join two-time U.S. Open champion 63-year-old Andy North as assistant captain for Watson.
From 1969 to 1993, Floyd was a member of eight U.S. Ryder Cup teams and amassed a total record of 12-16-3. He also captained the 1989 U.S. team that battled Europe to a 14-14 tie at the Belfry.
At 64 years old, Watson was a surprise choice to captain Team USA. He appeared in four Ryder Cups 1977, 1981, 1983 and 1989. His overall record of 10-4-1 is one of the best of all time and he was the captain of the victorious 1993 U.S. team.
PGA President Ted Bishop was on the job a little over one month in December 2012, when he made a surprise announcement and named Watson captain.
The U.S. had just suffered one of its most crushing defeats at Medinah in September and the Europeans have been dominating the Americans, winning seven of the last nine Ryder Cup matches.
Bishop felt it was time to do something different. He went “old school” and picked a proven winner to captain the 2014 U.S. team.
Watson won eight career major titles, five of which came at Open Championships held in Scotland. By choosing Floyd and North as his assistant captains, he is continuing the “old school” theme for this Ryder Cup team.
Watson and Floyd are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame and North won two U.S. Opens.
The three men account for 14 career major championship victories and a cumulative Ryder Cup record of 22-23-4.
Watson, Floyd and North were serious no-nonsense type of golfers, who relied not only on accuracy from the tee, but each possessed fantastic short games.
They have experience. When they talk, professional and amateur golfers should listen.
Phil Mickelson will probably be one of the oldest members of the 2014 Ryder Cup Team. He, along with Zach Johnson and Tiger Woods grew up around Watson, Floyd and North and have an appreciation, as well as respect for, their accomplishments.
Younger players like Dustin Johnson, Harris English, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley were born in the 1980s when Watson’s, Floyd’s and North’s careers were wrapping up.
Jordan Spieth will not turn 21 until July this year, a full 50 years younger than Floyd. All three U.S. Team captains are old enough to be his grandfather.
Watson is betting on all that experience to motivate the younger team members to appreciate the importance of the Ryder Cup and bring it back to the U.S. from Scotland in September.
Will “old school” be the determining factor at Gleneagles?
Probably not, but it will sure be fun watching the younger professionals relate to and interact with these veteran captains.
Tags: Andy North, Dustin Johnson, Fred Altvater, Gleneagles, Harris English, Jordan Spieth, Keegan Bradley, PGA, Phil Mickelson, Raymond Floyd, Ted Bishop, The Back Nine, Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson