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The Great Tom Watson, Ryder Cup Captain 2014

I am watching the PGA press conference introducing Tom Watson as the next US Ryder Cup Captain.   I love Tom Watson and think he has one of the greatest records in professional sport, still competing with players 40 years younger (isn’t golf a wonderful game!).

I recall a winters day at Paradise Island Golf Club in 1995, our first hole was the 10th, a dog leg left of around 360 yards.  Tom teed it up, wearing shorts exposing huge calf muscles,  and knocked it on the green, his first swing of the day!   When I said how impressed I was, he flexed his arm and asked me to feel his muscle. “Not bad eh?”.   I was already a fan, that clinched the deal.

However, his being made Ryder Cup Captain in 2014, isn’t exactly the way I want his career to finish.  Being hammered by the European Team is a bad way to go out.   The course is a slog designed by Nicklaus and in spite of annual EPGA events, the Centenary Course is the third best at the brilliant resort called Gleneagles.   Perthshire Scotland has a long golf history, perhaps the longest in the game.   Stirling is a wonderful historic city, and they’ve hosted epic battles before.  It will take more than the experienced Tom Watson as Captain to win the Ryder Cup, even if it is against a US based European.

So, I am one of maybe three people not happy about today’s decision – the other two?  Larry Nelson, who should have been Captain,  and Denis Watson whose ex wife is now Tom’s wife (result of a romance that also has Scottish roots, The Rufflets Hotel in St Andrews…).    The media has two years to discuss the next matches, the fun has begun, it will be a good two years.

North Inch, Perth.  The oldest fairway in golf?

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Gary Slatter

Venerable Canadian golf pro Gary Slatter discusses his opinions on the state of golf, golf course design and construction, teaching and more, based on a lifetime in the business.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I am with you Gary. I think it was Larry Nelson’s turn. Also, it does appear the PGA handled the situation poorly. There is an abundance of ‘who said what to whom’ rumours circulating. I’m not sure when Mr. Watson expressed his interest but clearly Mr. Nelson had done so early and had thousands of golf fans supporting his nomination. Also, Mr. Watson is a great golfer however; he has had his share of inconsistencies. He chastised Mr. Woods for poor behaviour but Mr. Watson has displayed his own over the years.
    Not a bad call, just not the right call. Between changes to the rules governing putting to this unexpected announcement it appears the PGA are keen to grab headlines-good or bad.

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