— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) October 4, 2014
The Golf Blog says: Wow, all we can say is wow.Tweet
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) September 28, 2014
The Golf Blog says: It was a strange decision from the start. When the PGA of America announced it had selected 63 year old Tom Watson as the next captain of the US Ryder Cup team, the choice was a little eyebrow-raising. Watson had already captained the US Team–but that was way back 20 years ago in 1993. That’s the last time the US team had won on foreign soil, so the PGA of America must have been hoping Tom could bring back the magic. Plus, people in Scotland love Watson, almost as one of their own. So there was a hint of logic in the PGA of America’s choice.
But there were numerous problems with selecting Watson as a sentimental favorite. Paramount among them was the fact that the Ryder Cup has become a much bigger production than it was in 1993, requiring the captain to take on a lot more responsibilities (including the ceremonies, uniforms, media requests, not to mention strategizing about the team play and the added pressure of 20 years of defeats for the U.S. team). Moreover, the course where the Ryder Cup would be played wasn’t a British links-style course, the kind of course where Watson’s knowledge and experience could actually help the players with local knowledge. Perhaps the choice of Watson would have made a lot of sense if the Ryder Cup were being played at a British Open course. But Gleneagles is no St. Andrews.
Finally, add in the fact that many of the players are 30 or 40 years younger than Watson, and it’s not hard to surmise that a good number of the players simply had not established any rapport with Watson from the past. He may be some of their idols, but it’s doubtful that many of them have ever spent any serious time with him until this week. Contrast that with Paul McGinley, the captain of the European team, who appeared to be the European’s team members’ big brother.
So if Watson deserves criticism for his decisions and uninspired captaincy at the Ryder Cup (he does), so does the PGA of America. The PGA of America selected Watson without thinking through that sentimental decision. Watson hadn’t coached a team for 20 years. He was the oldest Ryder Cup coach in history. Not sure on what basis the PGA of America decided that Watson could win where so many US captains (who were younger, more energetic, and more connected to the current PGA Tour players) had failed since 1995.Tweet
The Golf Blog says: At the press conference following a blowout loss for the US team (16.5 to 11.5), Phil Mickelson talked openly about the last time the US won a Ryder Cup in 2008 (he’s been on 8 losing teams). When asked a question about how the US team won in 2008 at Valhalla, Phil let loose. He said that Paul Azinger, the last US coach to win a Ryder Cup, created “pods” in which team members who would play together during the Ryder Cup would practice and hang out together to establish some team chemistry. He said Azinger got team members invested in the process and Zinger also had a good strategy of giving each pod a game plan. Tom Watson defended his strategy and dismissed the notion of a “pod” at the press conference. But Watson’s own coaching this week left a lot of good reasons to question the decisions he made this past week.
If the U.S. team ever wants to win a Ryder Cup, they need truth tellers who aren’t afraid to look critically on past performances. Phil was right to speak up.
Let’s face facts: Tom Watson didn’t have a great rapport with the team, many of whom are nearly 40 years younger than he is. Even though Watson was the coach of the team, it seemed more like he was a chaperone who simply had the responsibility to make decisions on whom to play. We didn’t get a chance to see what happened in the locker room, but from the outward appearances, Tom wasn’t the chummy, players-kind of coach like the Europeans always seem to have.
And then Watson made some costly decisions. Watson sat Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed on Friday afternoon after they decisively won in the morning, despite their pleas to Watson to continue. Then, Watson sat Phil Mickelson-Keegan Bradley who went 1-1 on Friday because Watson felt 4 other teams were better at alternate shot. Mickelson twice pleaded to Watson to put them out there, but Watson stubbornly denied them (yes, the same duo that went undefeated at the last Ryder Cup). No doubt Phil was a little miffed about sitting all Saturday. As it turned out, 3 of the 4 teams Watson put out instead of Phil-Keegan lost to the Euros, leaving a 4 point deficit that was simply too hard to make up on Sunday.
Watson didn’t lose this Ryder Cup. The players did. But Watson didn’t make great selections for his captain’s picks (Webb Simpson over Billy Horschel), and Watson made some dubious calls on Friday and Saturday afternoon. If you don’t want the US team ever to win a Ryder Cup again, then hold any criticism of Captain Watson. But if you want the US team to compete again, it’s time to examine everything that has gone wrong in the Ryder Cup for the US team, which has lost of 8 of the last 10 Ryder Cups dating back to 1995. The Ryder Cup is a gentlemen’s game, it’s true. But gentlemen are honest, self-reflective people who tell the truth and learn from past mistakes. There is a reason the US Team has lost 8 of 10 Ryder Cups. Let’s not be in denial due to politeness.
Phil, when asked if any of his teammates were involved in Watson's decisions: "No, nobody here was in any decision." http://t.co/NbT9TNu61X
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) September 28, 2014
Tom Watson on sitting J. Spieth & P. Reed: “I take the blame for that. That decision not to play them was a hard decision to make."
— Rex Hoggard (@RexHoggardGC) September 26, 2014
— Luke Elvy (@elvisgolf) September 27, 2014
Well that was fun. We should do that again sometime. See you tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/6tJ7vGeJyY
— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) September 26, 2014
The results of the afternoon foursomes pic.twitter.com/y8VtHeuomN
— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) September 26, 2014
— PGA.COM (@PGA_com) September 26, 2014
The Golf Blog says: The US won the morning 2.5 to 1.5, but then got routed in the afternoon. Captain Tom Watson got second-guessed for sitting the winning duo of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who beat the irrepressible Ian Poulter in the morning.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 23, 2014