The USA have confirmed that the legendary Tom Watson will be the captain of their 2014 Ryder Cup team as they bid to prevent the Europeans recording a hat-trick of wins.
The 63-year-old will lead a side currently priced up at 5/4 to lift the trophy and his popularity in Scotland could well help inspire the Americans.
Having won four of his five Open crowns north of the border, the Scots have taken a shine to Watson and he is sure to be well-received when he leads his team into battle at Gleneagles, possibly having an adverse effect on Europe’s home advantage.
This no doubt played a part in the committee’s decision to appoint Watson for a second time which, coincidentally, makes him the oldest captain in Ryder Cup history.
His first attempt at the helm was a successful one; he masterminded the USA’s 15-13 triumph at the Belfry in 1993, which remains their last win on European soil. The 2014 hosts have dominated the prestigious event since then, winning seven of the nine renewals since.
This could be about to change with Watson’s return imminent. As a player he didn’t finish on the losing side in one Ryder Cup, winning four and drawing one of his five appearances.
His once frosty relationship with Tiger Woods looks as though it will have no bearing on the player’s selection either, with Watson saying he would definitely be granting the 14-time major winner a wildcard should he not make the team on merit, stating:
“If for some stupid reason Tiger is not on the team, he will certainly be at the top of my list. I want somebody of that capability, of that type of desire, to win.”
Watson has been courted for over a year by the selection board, who first approached him in November of last year which explains the USA’s prompt appointment. Darren Clarke is the man the bookies fancy to oppose the Kentucky-born veteran; he’s odds-on favourite to get the nod to lead Europe and can be backed at 8/13.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date