NEW YORK - Kansas City's Tom Watson will be the next U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, PGA of America Ted Bishop announced Thursday on NBC's "Today Show."
Bishop said at a media luncheon Tuesday in New York that, "we've done something a little bit different this year." Bishop announced the captain on the NBC "Today Show" during a 8:30 a.m. CT segment on Thursday. A news conference was scheduled to follow in the Empire State Building.
"He will do a fantastic job. He's been there and he knows what to do," Stan Thirsk, Watson's longtime mentor based here in Kansas City, said Thursday. "I remember he told me once ‘Just go out there and do what got you here in the first place.'" That's really good advice."
The next Ryder Cup between the U.S. and Europe will take place in 2014 at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland. Watson would be age 65, the oldest Ryder Cup captain ever.
ESPN reports Watson is in New York this week. Watson was off the PGA's radar for the role until last week. That's when he told reporters he would be interested in being captain, if asked.
"It would be a great honor if I got tapped on the shoulder," he said. "'93 was the last time I've been to a Ryder Cup. I'd like to go back as captain. That would be cool."
The 63-year-old Watson last served as U.S. Ryder Cup captain in 1993 at The Belfry in England. That's the last time the Americans won on foreign soil. The U.S. has only won the Ryder Cup on foreign soil twice since 1981. There hasn't been a repeat Ryder Cup captain since Jack Nicklaus was the captain in 1983 and 1987.
The PGA traditionally has selected a former major champion in his mid-to-late 40's who is still competitive on the PGA Tour. Watson would be at least 15 years older than the 10 most recent Ryder Cup captains. David Toms and Larry Nelson were considered the leading candidates to be the next Ryder Cup Captain. The U.S. might be looking for a new method after losing seven of the past nine Ryder Cups.
Another advantage for Watson is that the 2014 Ryder Cup will take place in Scotland, where Watson won four of his five British Open Championships. Those took place at Carnoustie in 1975, Turnberry in 1977, Muirfield in 1980, and Royal Troon in 1982. Watson played on four U.S. Ryder Cup teams that went 3-0-1. He posted a 10-4-1 record. You might remember three years ago when Watson nearly won the British Open at Turnberry, where he fell in a playoff to Stewart Cink at age 59.