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Watson Named U.S. Ryder Cup Captain
As some observers expected, Tom Watson has been named the U.S. captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup. This will be the second captaincy for Watson, who led the Americans to victory in 1993 at The Belfry in England.
Last week Watson said it "would be a great honor" to captain the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team, though the 63-year-old noted he hadn't been approached at that point by the PGA of America for the position.
The Americans will try to bring the Ryder Cup back to the U.S. when it plays the European team at Gleneagles in Scotland on September 26-28. Europe is expected to name its 2014 captain sometime in January.
Arnold Palmer reacted to the news of Watson's appointment while preparing for the Father/Son Challenge in Orlando. "Certainly it's a very wise choice and it's a great decision, because Tom Watson is what he is," Palmer said. "He's got a fantastic record. I suppose that I thought about some other people. I didn't know Tom Watson was going to be selected, and I certainly gave them a bit of a nod from my perspective.
"But I certainly don't think it's a mistake to have Tom Watson as the Ryder Cup captain. It will work out I'm sure very well. He has been a great guy, a great player, and a tribute to the game."
Davis Love III, who had a disappointing stint this year as captain of the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team, said of Watson's selection: "I'm excited for him. I think obviously in Scotland, a guy that has so much passion for the game and so much respect over there is great.For Keegan Bradley or Brandt Snedeker or those guys that didn't get to play with Tom a lot, don't really know him that well, it's going to be exciting. For guys like Mickelson, he's been around Tom a lot and has a lot of respect for the guy and will enjoy it.
"Did Phil play in '93? Probably not," Love added. "So Phil didn't play for him; Tiger didn't. So I think it's good on both ends. I think Tom adds a lot of passion and a lot of ideas. I've liked the direction he's already told me what he's thinking. I think it's good. We have a nice gap right now. Even I could have waited two more years. But I think Ted all along knew that I would have been better at home and Tom would be the right guy for Scotland. He's had it in his mind for a long time."
The announcement was made in New York City by the PGA of America's president, Ted Bishop. Following the word that Watson would be the next captain, a Q&A with the reporters followed. Here's the full transcript of the announcement and press conference.
MODERATOR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, I'm the PGA of America's Julius Mason, and I'd like to welcome those of you joining us on the phone lines around the world and those on site right here at the Empire State building in New York City to the 2014 United States Ryder Cup Captain news conference.
We have some very special guests in the audience that I would like to introduce to you right now. Beginning with the vice president of the PGA of America, Mr. Derek Sprague; secretary, Paul Levy; Chief Executive Officer, Pete Bevacqua; PGA board member and district two director, Leo DeGisi; and also please welcome the metropolitan PGA Section in New Jersey PGA section officers and executive directors. From the Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Indiana, please welcome the 38th president of the PGA of America, Mr. Ted Bishop.
TED BISHOP: Thank you, Julius. First of all, on behalf of the PGA of America, I would like to welcome everybody that's in attendance today and everybody that is listening and watching all around the world. This is an exciting day for the PGA of America and for the Ryder Cup; and for me personally, it's extremely exciting because it's the culmination of something that we as PGA officers have been working for, for really over a year. And it's great and I know on behalf of Derek and Paul and Pete, to finally get to a point where it's going to happen and we can tell everybody who our next captain is going to be.
To be able to do it in such an iconic landmark as the Empire State Building makes this day even more special, and to be able to talk about an event that certainly has captured and stolen the hearts of sports fans all over the world is really a pretty cool thing. As many of you know, we just came off a very successful Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club just outside of Chicago, and I think it's kind of interesting, when the 2014 Ryder Cup is played at the Centenary Course in Gleneagles in Scotland, it will have been 21 years since the United States has won on foreign soil. The last man to captain a winning American Team is sitting next to me today; he led the Americans to a dramatic victory at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England.
I think it's important for the people to understand that the PGA of America has an obligation to try to pick and find the captain that we feel is going to put our team in the best position to win. And quite frankly, I know I speak for a lot of people when I say, we are just really tired of losing the Ryder Cup. And the decision to name this gentleman as our next captain, a lot of that was just about our weariness of what's happened in the past few Ryder Cups and we certainly hope that trend can change. We feel he's certainly the perfect person to do this, based on his playing record in Scotland.
As you all know, he won seven major championships in Scotland. He had a 10 4 1 career record in Ryder Cup action. Three of his four playing Ryder Cups were in Europe. He has eight major championships, which include five Open Championship victories, four of which came in Scotland. He had three Senior Open Championships all in Scotland, and as we all know, he nearly missed his historic sixth Open Championship at Turnberry in 2009 at the age of 59, and history certainly would have recorded that as one of the greatest accomplishments in all of sports.
I think the other thing, the other key thing, is just how revered this gentleman is in Scotland, and he's got a tremendous understanding of the culture, the country and its people. We also know about the unique weather challenges that Scotland will probably present, and I think we will agree that he is recognized at one of the top players under challenging conditions, and we certainly hope that that's going to translate to our team, as well. And finally, he still plays the game at a high level. Just last week at the Australian Open at the age of 63, he carded the low round of the day on Sunday. And ladies and gentlemen, it is truly my pleasure and my honor to introduce the 2014 United States Ryder Cup Captain, Tom Watson.
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Thank you. Thank you, Ted. Indeed, it's an honor to be the captain again for the team. It's been 19 years, and frankly when he called me to start the process, and he called me over a year ago to start the process of thinking about being the captain. I said, "Boy, I've been waiting for this call for a long time," to be asked again to be the captain, because I really wanted the challenge to do it again. The way I look at being a captain, it's like being a stage manager. Here we are in iconic New York, this building right here, not too far from Broadway. The theatre which we went to last night, you know, there's always a stage manager and that person has to prepare the stage for the actors, and that's what I do as a captain. I prepare the stage for the actors, in this case the players.
You see these players up in the windows, that's a nice touch by the way. That was a very nice touch. There's Seve up there, and of course Webb Simpson and Ian Poulter - more on Ian Poulter later. This responsibility is a challenge, but I've been there before and I welcome it. The idea of being captain for a team of youngsters will be questioned: Why is Watson, being the old guy, being the captain. I deflect that very simply by saying: We play the same game. I play against these kids at the Masters. I play against them at the British Open, the Open Championship, the Greenbrier Classic. We play the same game, and they understand that. I understand that.
And it's my challenge simply to maybe set the stage with a little extra inspiration for them to go out along with some Watson luck, which I referred to in an interview earlier today that I think propelled us to victory in 1993. Again, it's a great honor to be the captain, I look forward to it. It's going to be a great journey these next couple years, and I hope that we will change the tide of losing the Ryder Cup seven out of the last nine years.
MODERATOR: Tom, thank you very much.
Q. How will you change your approach in any way from the last time you were the Ryder Cup captain?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Well, I really haven't thought much about changing the approach. I'm going to probably do the same things, try to make it easy for the players. The PGA of America does that. They create a situation - I talked to Davis Love, and I said, "What was the team room like?" The team room had four ping pong tables to it. These guys are blowing off steam, basically, the pressure. Because the pressure is really the pressure is incredibly strong. I believe the pressure in playing in the Ryder Cup and being a captain is great or greater than playing for yourself in any major championship.
So trying to help them deal with that pressure; do the things that diffuse it. That's my responsibility, if I can help in any way. You're never going to lose it in that first tee when you tee it up and say, now, for the United States, teeing off, your name. Being at Augusta National, you have the same feeling. Being in the Ryder Cup, you have the same feeling. It's unique. My job is to simply coordinate and maybe inspire a little bit. The motivation comes from the players, the actors. That's where the motivation comes from. They don't need to be motivated. As Davis said when I asked him, I said, "What was the team room like?"
And he said, "These guys were committed to winning in the worst way." I said, "What happened on Sunday night?" He said there was tremendous disappointment. It was just really tough for everybody. It was one of the greatest Ryder Cup Matches in history I think, this last one at Medinah; not a question.
I watched it, and it was like - Ian Poulter, who is right up in that window, when he made those five birdies in a row on Saturday, and just gave them a little breath, just a little bit of hope; it was like just on the horizon there was a cloud on the horizon that was the harbinger for the next day. And when that next day happened, that cloud grew to a storm. And when those first five matches all went blue midway through the matches, that storm was howling. That pressure was great. The momentum had changed, and I give a great deal of credit to that guy right there, Seve Ballesteros.
José Maria Olazábal, he was a great friend of Seve. He shed a lot of tears concerning Seve during the playing of the matches. That man right there I think had a great deal to do with their victory and their comeback victory on Sunday. It's not a question in any mind that that was one of the major reasons they won.
Q. You might be the last Ryder Cup Captain who really knew on a personal level Nelson, Snead, Hogan, guys going way back. So much of golf is generational. Will part of your purpose at all be to remind these young golfers that you'll be captaining where golf came from and where they came from?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: I don't think I have to do that. I think the most important thing is just to be there to help them out. There are a couple of things that you do when you go overseas like that. First of all, simple mundane things, talk about the time change. I remember Tom Kite going over to Walton Heath, I said - Tom was a tinkerer of his swing like I was a tinkerer of my swing, try to always improve and when things went wrong we get frustrated.
I said: Tom, when you get over there, don't worry about your swing. Feel cruddy, don't try to change anything. You're going over there - you're prepared going over there, but the time change is going to mess you up. Wait for three days. And then if something is going wrong, try to change something, but don't try to change it immediately, because when you get there, your body is not adjusted to the time. He said after he won his singles match on Sunday, he won eight and receive, he was 10 under par at Walton Heath, he said, "Tom, you were right, I didn't worry about my swing and everything just smoothed out." Those are the types of experiences that I have had going over and playing over there.
When I played in the Open Championship, I always made it a pointing to over there and play early, get there early. Not just play golf, but to give my body a chance to adjust to the five hours or six hours of time difference there was, because that's a big deal. It was a big deal to me. Of course, the older you get, the less the time affects you. I've just been around the world, I've gone from Kansas City to Joburg to Sydney and now back to New York. My body doesn't exactly know what time it is right now, but it's a lot easier to take now than it was then when you were younger. Again, I get back to that point. It's one of the things that you help the team out with.
Q. Obviously you're going to be facing somewhat of a hostile atmosphere there; what's your philosophy in trying to handle the crowd there and not make it a factor for your guys?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Well, the players who have played in the Ryder Cup matches before, they understand the deal. The deal is that it's a very partisan crowd. It's unlike the crowds you play when you're playing an individual; in an individual, the crowds are more - they are normal crowds. They will applaud a good shot.
But when you're playing in the Ryder Cup matches, either you're for the Euros or you're for the USA team. You're going to cheer a bad shot, which is part of the deal. Basically, it's not cheering a bad shot. You're cheering for somebody who misses a putt to give your team a win on the hole, and that's not a bad deal. I think all of the players understand that. So that's part of the deal. And the crowds, I've always found playing in the Ryder Cup machines in Europe, the crowds have always been very, very good, but the difference in the matches is that they are very partisan, and you understand that. And you would be, too, and you understand how partisan you are. Your team is trying to beat the other team.
Q. With all of the success that you've had in Scotland over your career, what does it mean to go to Scotland as The Ryder Cup captain?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Well, it's interesting, because Ted, when he said - when we were talking about early on in the conversation about me being captain, Ted said, "How many times do you think it's been played in Scotland, the Ryder Cup Matches?" I said, "Well, I don't know."
He said, "Just once before. This will be the second time it's been played in Scotland." Unless you count the 1921 Matches, which were played, ironically, at Gleneagles. You had Walter Hagen playing for the U.S. Team. You had Ted Ray, Harry Vardon, George Duncan playing for the British team. They beat us 10 4 in the matches, something like that. It was put up by a man named (James) Harnett, like Sam Ryder, who six years later started the Cup. They went over on a boat, back in those days, obviously didn't fly, and they had these matches at Gleneagles in 1921. So we are returning to the fold of the beginnings of the Ryder Cup.
Q. I know it's early but have you given any thoughts to the assistant captains and what qualities would you be looking for in those guys?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Well, it is too early to make any choices right now. I'll ask around. I'll ask Davis and basically I'll come up with a solution of who the captains are going to be and the numbers. But the qualities are ones that I think it's important for them to have both the respect and the knowledge of the players. That's most important. When I was captain in 1993, I had an assistant captain and his name was Stan Thirsk. He was my teacher, my golf pro, since I was 11 years old, PGA cub professional from Kansas City Country Club.
I asked him to go with me for basically one reason. I said, "Stan, go out and tell me how my team is playing. I want to know if they are playing well or not." God bless him, he never said a bad thing about anybody, so it didn't work. (Laughter) It didn't work. But I loved having him there. You need some eyes and ears on the course to help you out there, and I think that's the main purpose of an assistant captain.
Q. President Bishop noted that your appointment this morning, the announcement of, and this press conference is being closely watched around the globe. What do you hope the message will be to Europe in your appointment?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Well, the most important thing is that we are going to pull out all the stops to beat you guys. The bottom line is to win. There's the most important thing. I will do it in style and the grace in which we play the game. We're tired of losing. I always said that early in my career, I learned to win by hating to lose. It's about time to start winning again for our team. That's the attitude that I hope that my players have, and it's time to stop losing.
Q. How is your relationship with Tiger Woods, and how do you think you guys will get along with Gleneagles?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Well, I hope Tiger, first of all, is on my team. He's the best player maybe in the history of the game. He brings a stature to the team that is unlike any other player on the team. And if he's not on the team for any unforeseen reason, and I'm sure he will be, you can bet that he's going to be No. 1 on my pick list. My relationship with Tiger is fine. Whatever has been said before is water under the bridge, no issues, and, in fact, Ted, you told me today that he Tweeted and he said that he wanted me - he respected me as being captain because he knows that I want to win. Obviously there's nobody else in the golf world who wanted to win more than Tiger, and he did it for so many years. He dominated this sport unlike anybody in the history of the sport. So I want him on my team.
Q. Is there a chance you might play more tournaments on the PGA Tour if you think that you have to stay in touch with the younger players?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: I may do that. I don't know if my game is up to the task. I hope it is. Right now, I play three on the regular tour. I'll play against the kids at the Masters, I'll play against them at the Open Championship and the Greenbrier Classic as I stated before, and I may put another one or two tournaments in there. I'm still eligible to play as a life member of the PGA Tour. I can still choose a number of tournaments to play in and I may just do that.
Q. Can you walk us through this process? Tom said he was contacted a year ago. Curious who did that and what the internal conversations were like.
TED BISHOP: Sure, that's a great question. I guess my whole thought process was triggered as I was flying back from Bermuda to Indianapolis after the 2011 Grand Slam, and it was Jim Huber's last Grand Slam. Jim had presented everybody with a copy of his book, Four Days in July, which commemorated Tom's time at Turnberry, but it was also a great portrayal of Tom as a man. I remember I got home and I called Huber on Saturday, and I said, "Jim, I have a really out of the box concept I would like to throw at you just to get your opinion." I said, "What would you think of Tom Watson was a Ryder Cup captain in Scotland in 2014?"
And there was this deafening silence and Jim came back and he said, "You know what, that's a brilliant idea. That idea is absolutely brilliant." And Jim was kind enough to give me Tom's cell phone number. I reached out to Tom and called him in a field of South Dakota pheasant hunting; didn't want to interrupt his hunting, and we spoke later on that evening, it was probably 13 months ago, and kind of started the dialogue with him, first of all, needed to gauge whether or not he had any interest in even doing this. You know, was pleased to hear that he did.
Then, you know, I took the liberty, I guess I kind of wore my fellow PGA officers out, I took the liberty to put together an 85 page document on all of the reasons I didn't felt like Tom Watson should be our next Ryder Cup Captain. I spent a lot of time talking to former Ryder Cup Captains. I spent time talking to players who had played for Tom in 1993. I talked to some people that I know that play on current Ryder Cup teams and the feedback was overwhelmingly favorable for making that move. So, you know, I had great support from my fellow PGA officers, and at the time, that was Jim Remy and Derek Sprague and Allen Wronowski. And our process - and I think it's important, I appreciate the question, because I think it's important that people understand what the process is for the PGA of America.
You know, our criteria has always been: We look for a major champion who has played in multiple Ryder Cups. And Ryder Cup in and Ryder Cup out, that list will fluctuate based on who fits that criteria, and we are always charged with finding the captain that we think is the best captain under the circumstances in the venue that we are going to play in. And we did that.
And we went through our due diligence and we unanimously came to the conclusion that Tom was the guy that we wanted to conduct a formal interview with - and I think this is important for people to understand. When the PGA of America goes through this process, it's not like a conventional job interview where we bring half a dozen candidates, and we do interviews. We got what we need. We know what these guys have done. And we traditionally have picked one individual that we really think is the person that we want as our Ryder Cup captain; and then we go and do a formal interview and if we're satisfied and he's satisfied, then we offer him the job.
That's how the process worked. And I think we have done a tremendous job over the years in picking Ryder Cup captains, and I stand by every decision that every group of PGA officers has made in the past. We have had some great captains and we have supported them all, and we certainly look forward to this one in 2014.
Q. Congratulation, Tom, it's a thrill to have you as our Ryder Cup Captain. My question is, the underlying theme recently has been by the captains saying, well, I want to see what my players want to do; I want to see who they want to play with. Almost being too nice. And as a captain, you know, I think your job is for to you decide who should play with who is when you want them to play, and not being a contemporary. Do you think that will be easier for you to do?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Bob, I think any and all information to help you create a team is useful, and that stands for going to those players themselves and asking them about whom they would like to play with and to use that information in creating and building your teams. That I think is very important. But the ultimate decision, Bob, as you state, is mine. My decision is final. When I was Ryder Cup Captain in 1993, I certainly went to the advice and used the advice of Raymond Floyd and Lanny Watkins quite a bit in the playing and the selections of the teams there, because both of them I really respected as far as their competitive nature is concerned and the makeup of certain teams.
But on the other hand, you look at what Jack said one time. He said, "I can throw any of those 12 guys together with each other and they will be a formidable team." That's the other side of the coin. I just hope, Bob, that when these players come, that when we arrive in Perthshire in Scotland in 2014, that all of these guys are playing above average or the best of their abilities. I hope they are all playing well. That gives me a lot of latitude in putting teams together. Maybe in some instances makes it a little tougher because if all of them are playing well, it's just, well, now what do you do here and there.
But the most important thing is for me as a captain is to get lucky. I just hope I get lucky and that happens; that the players that are coming there are all playing well, and that we're playing - as a team, it will put us in a good chance of winning the tournament. One of the things I don't think I've mentioned is that I think the Europeans have done a masterful job of creating an element of winning simply by using the venues that they use. They play at golf courses where they play a yearly tournament on the European Tour. These players who play on the Ryder Cup teams have played in that tournament a number of times.
And playing in that tournament, they have played that golf course under a variety of conditions, and that gives them an advantage. The more you play a golf course, the better you are at managing the golf course. When we go over there and we play three or four practice rounds, we have to learn that course under those conditions. Now, what happens if the wind is only blowing from one direction those three or four days and then it switches on the last during the matches; we are playing a completely new golf course. So that's the advantage that the Europeans have, and I think it's very masterful. So we have to be playing at the best of our abilities to overcome that I think.
Q. If you could, reflect back on when you were picked as captain, and I guess in '92, I would assume, how different was that process to this process?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: It was different, actually in that process right there, Chuck Rubin, who was my manager then, I asked Chuck, I said, "I would like to be a Ryder Cup captain. Can you effectively make contact with them? And if you make contact with them, please request that I am captain overseas, because I think it helps the team for me to be the captain overseas because of my record that I have had over there. "And a few months later, I get a call from the PGA of America and said, we'd like to come to Kansas City have a meeting with you. Okay, well, they did.
I had no expectations what would happen to me. I thought they were just coming to interview me. Well, we go to the meeting, and like we did when you came to Kansas City with Derek and Paul and company, they interviewed me and talked to me about the Ryder Cup, and what I thought about it and what I could do. Then they said, would you excuse us for a few moments. Yeah, I left, I was in the office, I come back about 15 minutes later and said: "Congratulations, you are a selection for the Ryder Cup captain." That's how that effectively happened in 1992.
Q. How do you feel about four picks versus two?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Well, I don't know about that yet. I think four picks gives you a lot of latitude but maybe too much. This year's issue with Hunter Mahan with not making the team, I think that's an issue that I'll look closely at before I make a decision how many picks we should have. I think I've already discussed this with Ted - and Ted has given me the go ahead, saying, captain, you really have the latitude to do anything you want to do as far as the number of picks are concerned.
Q. I went back and looked at some of the stuff you had said earlier and I think you had questioned in 2008 and 2004, performers and how we didn't perform well and how we weren't ready at times for those Ryder Cups. Since 2008, we have the FedEx Cup, guys play later in the season now. We have four picks versus two, and since 2008 when Paul's team won, we've only lost by one point either way?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Correct.
Q. So for the last three, under the new system, we've done pretty well. I'm just trying to understand, are you suggesting that maybe that system didn't going to fit your criteria?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: What I'm suggesting, it's open to a change is what it is. It's worked in the old system of having two picks; it could be three picks; it could be four picks. At this time, I haven't decided how many picks I'm going to have.
Q. A lot has been made about your success in Scotland, does that maybe add extra pressure on you as captain?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Well, I think it brings to the table maybe a little bit more of a calm to the team members that I've done well over there; that I understand how the game is played on links golf and they can come to me maybe with questions about the golf course. I would be expect too many questions like that, they are professionals. These guys are the actors, they will go out and figure the golf course our themselves. But I think it may give them a sense, this guy has been there before and he's been successful before and we're going to be a success because he's there leading us on or setting the table, as I said.
Q. And obviously the course has been designed by Jack Nicklaus. Do you envisage going to Jack and maybe getting some inside information on the course (laughter)?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Yes, I do. Thanks for the thought. I haven't thought about that, but actually, I've gone to the website and I have taken the virtual tour of each hole on the golf course. It's very, very well done, the virtual tour of the Centenary Course, the PGA Centenary Course there. Obviously I will go visit the course; I'll play the course and see the facility before we go there in 2014. I hope that some of the players will do that, too. I'll try to inspire them to go and play the course; to have a chance to play it maybe once or twice before they get there in 2014. I think that's important. But it's not going to be mandatory. I will suggest that.
Q. When do you think you would pay your first visit?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Well, my first visit will be probably sometime this year.
Q. Paul Azinger was the last successful captain. When you look at that team and what he did, are there things that you liked and really admire the way he did?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Well, he certainly went in depth as far as personality profiles and things like that, which I think are well documented. You know, I don't have a problem with people as far as the pros using all of the necessary information to make themselves better golfers. Paul, he did that. He really, really took it upon himself to go in depth in detail and making sure that everything was the way he thought it should be as far as being a captain and the way the players should be paired. Essentially, that's what we do. We set the table, we set the stage, we make the choices for the pairings, and you're going to be second guessed by everybody if you're not a success. But you make your decisions based on the best information at that particular time, and you can't be faulted for that. That's the essence of being in this job, you'll be faulted one way or the other.
Q. I asked a question of Captain Love when he was picked about reflecting back through your years of who has brought you here. You've got a second go of it. Any reflections where you think, wow, who has gotten you here and how much it means to have a second go at it?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Well, as I discussed earlier, getting that call from Ted discussing the fact that he was thinking about me being Ryder Cup captain, I said to him, I said, "I've been waiting for this call for almost 20 years." Always wanted to be captain again, I really did. I loved doing it the first time, and I wanted to do it another time. It came to pass this year and I'm very grateful for the opportunity, Ted.
Q. I know we are hearing about how tired the Americans are of losing the competition. Can you put your finger on what particularly has made the Europeans so hard to beat in this stretch of Ryder Cups?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Well, as Jim Colbert said in a players' meeting in front of Deane Beman a long time ago when players were complaining about certain things that were going on on the Tour, he got up in front of all the players there and said: "You know what your problem is? Play better." (Laughter) And that's essentially the same thing. The Europeans have out played us.
Q. You don't hear about the passion the Europeans have for this or the attitude - how do you view that?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: I don't think there's any advantage to that at all. Talking to Davis about the team room and how the guys got a long, he said, "They got along great. They were as a single unit. They were there for a purpose." So, you know, I really disregard a lot of comments that say, well, but the European Team is more of a team than the U.S. Team is. I disagree with that. We are a team. They want to win in the worst way. I hope it happens. We are going to try to effectively make that happen in 2014.
Q. I know you're playing for 14 1/2 points or north of that, but at this year's Ryder Cup on the last hole, very interesting situation where had Molinari missed it would have been 14 14; Tiger, as you need, conceding the putt, how would you have handled that situation?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: It didn't make any difference. We lost the Cup. The bottom line is we were over there to win the Cup. I was involved with a 14 14 tie as you know, at The Belfry and they owned the Cup before that, so we didn't get the Cup. It didn't matter; it didn't matter if the last match ended up a tie or a half point lead. It didn't matter to me. Some people it did, but to me, it didn't.
Q. Most people or most captains say that it doesn't matter what they do; they just need to do the things you've talked about and when the matches start, they start, and what happens, happens; it's all up to the players. But if you talk to Davis after the matches he would sit there and give you a litany of things he have would have done differently that would have made a difference in the matches. Specifically, I can think of maybe changing the hole location on the 17th hole on Sunday. Do you not agree that there are some things that you can actually control that may make a difference?
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Well, you're always going to second guess yourself as far as that is concerned. I thought about that location there. That was a tough location for some of our players' shot making. As a captain that's what you do, but I don't have any effective control over that when we go to Gleneagles. They set the pins there and they set the green speeds there. Now, the green speeds may be a little slower. Traditionally they have been a little bit slower. Our players overseas have had a hard time getting the ball to the hole. That's one of the things that I will find out about before our team gets there and relay some information about, the types of green speeds I think they will be using or are going to be using.
MODERATOR: Questions? Questions twice? All right, ladies and gentlemen -
CAPTAIN TOM WATSON: Sold!
MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us today.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.
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