Watson 'perfect' to inspire Woods at Gleneagles
The golfing world has given the seal of approval to the appointment of Tom Watson as USA Ryder Cup Captain for the match to be played at Gleneagles in 2014. As little as two weeks ago Watson’s name was not even being mentioned in relation to the US captaincy, but speculation began to grow after Watson was asked if he would return to the captaincy if asked. He replied he would and the prospect proved irresistible to the PGA of America.
It will be the second time that Watson will captain the side after he led the Americans to victory at The Belfy in 1993. The defeated European Captain of that match was Bernard Gallacher and he had this to say about Watson’s appointment:
"The USPGA have conducted a post-mortem after Medinah and decided that, as they look likely to have a young and inexperienced team, they might need a bit of experience over in Scotland to deal with the young players, so Tom, who is probably the most respected figure in the game today and has been there before as a captain and player and won in Europe, is a very clever appointment.
"I also think Watson is the perfect captain to get the best out of Tiger Woods, something we have not seen in Ryder Cups. Tiger only plays with Steve Stricker, but Tom will get him playing with other players ahead of 2014, plus, I think Tiger respects Tom for being very straightforward and criticizing him when he spat and swore on the course."
Winner at Celtic Manor in 2010 also offered his opinion:
"It is a surprise choice but seeing America's failure in the Ryder Cup - Europe have won seven times out of the last nine - they've decided to change things and go with someone who isn't playing alongside the players; if you keep on doing the same things you get the same results, so I think America have been very wise in choosing Tom and have gone back to the future.
"It is also a selection that will keep the Ryder Cup on the front pages in America, more so than some of the other candidates, while as a captain in '93 he was very well respected and he's even more respected now. There's a lot of pressure on him but I'm sure he can handle it - and the egos in the American team."
One reason that the USA have struggled in recent Ryder Cups is the under-performance of their best player Tiger Woods. So many will be looking to Watson to help Woods fire on all cylinders in Scotland. It will be fascinating to see how Watson goes about this as the Woods/Watson relationship has not been a good one over the years with Watson often critical. He has commented on Woods attitude in the past saying Woods “needs to respect the game more”
Despite their distant relationship Woods commented on Watson’s appointment:
"I think he's a really good choice. Tom knows what it takes to win, and that's our ultimate goal."
Watson was recently asked about his relationship with Woods in a press conference and said:
"He's the best player maybe in the history of the game. He brings a stature to the team that is unlike any other player on the team. And if he's not on the team for any unforeseen reason, and I'm sure he will be, you can bet that he's going to be No. 1 on my pick list. My relationship with Tiger is fine."
It remains to be seen if the gritty competitiveness of Watson will inspire Woods to play his best at Gleneagles, but one thing is for sure and that is Watson will create some fight and a ‘never give up’ attitude in the US team that has optimised him in his career.
The Ryder Cup will take place at Gleneagles Golf Club 26th - 28th September 2014
Image - Team USA Ryder Cup Facebook Page