GOLF: RYDER CUP
Weary of two decades of defeat in Europe, the Americans are breaking from precedent with a captain uniquely suited for the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland.
Tom Watson will be by far the oldest man to fill the role and the first repeat captain for the U.S. since 1987. But he’s also the last American to lead the team to victory on the road, and he knows how to win in the blustery Scottish weather.
“We are just really tired of losing the Ryder Cup,” PGA of America President Ted Bishop said Thursday during a news conference at the Empire State Building in New York. It won’t be easy. The Americans have lost seven of the last nine Ryder Cups and have not won away from home since 1993, when Watson was the captain at The Belfry in England..
Watson is the first repeat U.S. captain since Jack Nicklaus in 1987. Watson becomes the seventh American to get more than one shot.
“Tom Watson will do a fine job,” Nicklaus said. “Tom is a good leader.”
Watson breaks the PGA of America’s prototype in a big way. The eighttime major champ will be 65 when the Ryder Cup is played at Gleneagles. Sam Snead was 57 when he was captain in 1969. The oldest European captain was John Jacobs (56) in 1981.
Watson predicted that some would say: “Why is Watson, being the old guy, being the captain?”
“I deflect that very simply by saying: ‘We play the same game,’” he said. “I play against these kids at the Masters. I play against them at the British Open.”
Australian PGA: Australia’s Daniel Popovic shot an 8-under 64 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round Thursday in Coolum, Australia.
Alfred Dunhill Championship: France’s Gregory Bourdy shot a 6-under 66 to take the first-round lead over South African star Charl Schwartzel in Malelane, South Africa.