GOLF: RY­DER CUP

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - Tom Wat­son was picked as u.s. cap­tain to fit the sit­u­a­tion.

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.

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