Tom Watson Named 2014 US Ryder Cup Captain

Published:

Tom Watson has been named as the next American Ryder Cup captain and will become the oldest man to ever do the job at Gleneagles in 2014.

The 63-year-old succeeds Davis Love III following Europe's record-breaking comeback victory at Medinah in October.

"I was waiting for about 20 years to get the call," Watson told NBC.  "It is a great honour to do it again." The eight-time major champion was also the last US captain to record an away win, with a 1993 victory at the Belfry.

Watson hopes his vast experience will ensure there will be no repeat of the collapse which saw the US throw away a four-point lead coming into the final day in Chicago. He said: "I've lived for that pressure, lived underneath that pressure all of my career and I just hope I can set the table for these players to go out.

"I'm a stage manager, I set the stage for them and they go out and perform their act and in two years I hope that we can get it done.

The choice has already been backed by Tiger Woods - a player Watson had previously criticised for his behaviour both on and off the golf course.  "I think he's a really good choice. Tom knows what it takes to win, and that's our ultimate goal. I hope I have the privilege of joining him on the 2014 United States team," said the 14 time major champion.

While 2010 Ryder Cup winning captain Colin Montgomerie also thinks it is a good appointment, he said: "It will be a task for anybody to take on Tom Watson because he is very well respected, very well liked and loved here in Scotland."

Indeed, Watson, who is the first repeat captain for the US since Jack Nicklaus in 1987, won four out of his five Open titles on Scottish soil.

Add to that his three Senior Open Championship titles at Turnberry (2003), Royal Aberdeen (2005), Muirfield (2007) and it is clear he has a special affinity with the country.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has already assured Watson of a warm Scottish welcome when he visits Gleneagles for the 40th playing of the Ryder Cup matches in September 2014.

The First Minister said: “I am delighted to offer my congratulations to Tom Watson and the PGA of America on behalf of Scotland for his well-deserved appointment as US Ryder Cup Captain. I can think of no-one better to represent the US-team when the Ryder Cup returns to The Home of Golf in a little under two years time.
 
“Tom Watson is, in the truest sense of the word, a golfing legend and someone who will always hold a special place in the hearts of the Scottish golfing public. His incredible feats on Scottish soil are part of an illustrious golfing history in our country.

"From his ‘Duel in the Sun’ with Jack Nicklaus in 1977 at Turnberry to his agonising near-miss in the Open Championship at the same venue in 2009, Tom has always felt at home in Scotland and he will be welcomed back with open arms in September 2014."
 
Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourism agency, added: “In 2014 Scotland is preparing to welcome the world but now we are looking forward to welcoming one very special guest in particular.
 
“Tom Watson has long been adopted by Scottish golf fans as one of their own and although the matches on the course in 2014 will be hotly contested, Tom is assured of the warmest of welcomes by the Scottish public."