Tom Watson Goes 'Old School' for 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Team

Fred AltvaterContributor IIFebruary 14, 2014

Tom Watson announced Raymond Floyd as a Ryder Cup assistant captain.
Tom Watson announced Raymond Floyd as a Ryder Cup assistant captain.Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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 2014 squad as an assistant captain.

Floyd’s last appearance in a Ryder Cup was over 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 captains for Watson.

Raymond Floyd is a past Masters champion.
Raymond Floyd is a past Masters champion.David Cannon/Getty Images

From 1969 to 1993, Floyd was a member of eight U.S. Ryder Cup teams and amassed a record of 12-16-3. He also captained the 1989 team that failed to win back the cup in 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 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 of the 2014 Ryder Cup team.

The U.S. had just suffered one of its most crushing defeats at Medinah in September. The Europeans have dominated the Americans, winning seven of the last nine Ryder Cup matches.

PGA President Ted Bishop felt change was needed for the Ryder Cup captain spot and chose Tom Watson to bring the cup back to America.
PGA President Ted Bishop felt change was needed for the Ryder Cup captain spot and chose Tom Watson to bring the cup back to America.Scott Halleran/Getty Images

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 the 2014 squad.

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 also possessed fantastic short games.

They have experience. When they talk, professional and amateur golfers should listen.

Andy North won two U.S. Open titles.
Andy North won two U.S. Open titles.Hunter Martin/Getty Images

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, such as Dustin Johnson, Harris English, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley, were born in the 1980s when Watson, Floyd and North’s careers were wrapping up.

Jordan Spieth will not turn 21 until July this year. The three U.S. Team captains are old enough to be his grandfather.

Team USA captain Tom Watson is betting on his and the two assistant captains’ 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 the veteran captains.


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