Tom Watson, an eight-time major golf champion, was named captain of the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team as the American team will try to rebound from this year’s final-day collapse.
Watson will be 65 when the matches are played at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland, making him the oldest U.S. captain. Sam Snead was 57 when he led the U.S. team in 1969.
The winner of five British Open titles and the U.S. captain in the biennial tournament between teams of U.S. and European golfers in 1993, Watson was named to the post during a segment this morning on the “Today” show on Comcast Corp.’s NBC network, which televises the golf matches.
“I was waiting for about 20 years to get the call,” Watson said. “I loved it the first time. It’s a great honor to be able to do it again. This time we need 14 1/2 points. I’m a stage manager. I just hope I can set the stage for these players to perform their act.”
Watson also was captain in 1993, leading the U.S. to its most recent win in Europe. Since 1981, the U.S. has prevailed in only two matches on foreign soil. Watson is the first repeat captain since Jack Nicklaus in 1987.
The U.S. lost this year’s three-day matches at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 as Europe equaled the 13-year-old U.S. record for the biggest comeback in the competition’s history. Europe entered the final day trailing 10-6 and outscored the U.S. 8 1/2 to 3 1/2 in 12 final-day singles matches.
Of Watson’s five British Open wins, four came in Scotland. He played on U.S. Ryder Cup teams that won three times and tied once, posting a 10-4-1 individual record, and missed capturing the 2009 British Open at Turnberry in Scotland at age 59 when he lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink.