The PGA of America has named Tom Watson to be the 2014 Ryder Cup captain.
To the extent that a Captain makes a difference in the win-loss record, I think Watson will make a good one. He should command instant respect from the players, and be far enough removed from the Tour that he doesn’t feel the need to be their friend. Players will do things General Watson’s way or they’ll find themselves watching the battle from the rear.
Golf pundits are making a big deal of Watson’s rumored rift with Tiger. A couple of years ago Watson upbraided Woods for his seeming lack of respect for the dignity of the game:
“I feel that he has not carried the same stature as the other great players that have come along like Jack [Nicklaus], Byron Nelson, [Ben] Hogan in the sense that there was bad language and club throwing on the golf course,” Watson said. “You can grant that to somebody, a young person, that has not been out there for a while, but I think he needs to clean up his act and show the respect for the game that the people before him have shown.”
I do not think it will be a big deal. In 2014, Tiger will be 38! and no longer the center of attention of US golf. He’ll play on the Ryder Cup—and like it—because he will know that his future opportunities are limited. More important than “repairing relations” with Tiger will be establishing connections with the young stars most of whom were not yet born when Tom won his Majors.