Watson selected as captain of 2014 US Ryder Cup team heading to Scotland

NEW YORK — Tom Watson, one of America’s greatest performers and the winner of eight major championships, has been selected by The Professional Golfers’ Association of America to captain the 2014 United States Ryder Cup Team. Watson becomes the seventh U.S. golfer to serve more than one term as Ryder Cup Captain, returning to duty after guiding a U.S. Team in 1993 to its last victory overseas.

Watson will lead a 12-member team in the 40th Ryder Cup, Sept. 26-28, 2014, at Gleneagles’ PGA Centenary Course in Perthshire, Scotland. At age 63, Watson is the oldest to be named a Ryder Cup Captain for either an American or European Team, surpassing British legend J.H. Taylor, who was 62, when he guided Great Britain to victory in 1933.

Watson will be 65 when the 40th Ryder Cup convenes in Scotland, a country where he won four of his five Open Championships between 1975 and 1983. In 2014, Watson also will share the longest period between Captain roles with another legend, Ben Hogan, who served in 1947, ’49 and ’67.

“Tom Watson is one of the most respected players and ambassadors in the game of golf, and The PGA of America is excited that he has accepted the task of once again guiding a United States Ryder Cup Team,” said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. “The 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles will mark 21 years since the U.S. has won a Ryder Cup on foreign soil. Tom was the last American Captain to accomplish this feat and we hope that he can do it again.”

Watson is one of 27 individuals to guide a U.S. Team in one of the world’s most compelling sports events. Inducted in 1988 into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Watson owns 70 worldwide professional championships since becoming a Tour professional in 1971. His eight major titles include five Open Championships (1975, ’77, ’80, ’82, ’83), two Masters (1977, ’81), and the 1982 U.S. Open. He shared runner-up honors in the 1978 PGA Championship.

“In 2014 in Perthshire, Gleneagles will host the Ryder Cup for only the second time in golf’s birthplace – Scotland – a place that has been very special to me during my career,” said Watson. “It’s hard to believe that it was nearly 20 years ago that I enjoyed one of the most thrilling experiences in my career in being Captain of the winning 1993 Ryder Cup Team. The memories I take from there are forever imprinted, especially Davis Love’s winning putt to seal the victory for our team late in the singles matches.

“As the 2014 Captain, it is my task to add a sense of calm and organization to the boiling pot of nerves and emotions the players experience in playing for our country and their fellow teammates. I will do all I can possibly do to see that the outcome of these 2014 Matches will be the same as in 1993.”

Since joining the Champions Tour in 1999, Watson has won 14 times, including the 2001 and 2011 Senior PGA Championships among six senior major titles. In 2009, at age 59, Watson became the oldest player to hold a 54-hole lead in a major championship. He is the only golfer to post a round of 67 or lower in all four majors at least once in four different decades.

A native of Kansas City, Mo., Watson is a 1971 graduate in psychology from Stanford University, where he was a three-time All-American (1969-71) selection. He went on to become a six-time PGA Player of the Year (1977-80, ’82, ’84), and was a three-time Vardon Trophy winner (1977-80).

Watson competed on four U.S. Ryder Cup Teams (1977, ’81, ’83 and ’89), compiling a 10-4-1 overall record. In 1993, he was Captain of the American Team that defeated Europe, 15-13, at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England.

In September 2014, Gleneagles joins Muirfield (1973) as the only Scottish venues to host golf’s most compelling event. The PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles, a Jack Nicklaus design, has served as host to the Johnnie Walker Championship, and is set in the heart of Scotland.

The Ryder Cup began in 1927 when enterprising English seed merchant Samuel Ryder commissioned the casting of a gold chalice that bears his name. The U.S. Team defeated Great Britain, 9½ to 2½, in the inaugural matches in Worcester, Mass.

Since then, except for a span (1939-45) during World War II and following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks upon America, the Ryder Cup has been held biennially with the U.S. and Europe alternating as host. Since 1985, Europe owns a 9-4-1 advantage in golf’s pre-eminent event.

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