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Watson 'Sick and Tired' of Americans Losing Ryder Cup
Though it's unlikely he made the 36-hole cut in the rain-postponed RBC Heritage, Tom Watson still made an impression this week at Harbour Town Golf Links.
The 64-year-old Hall of Famer shot rounds of 75 and 73 and probably didn't qualify for the final two rounds of the PGA Tour event, though the exact cut line won't be determined until around noon on Saturday when the rest of the field will hopefully have completed their second rounds, delayed and then halted on Friday due to heavy rains.
Nonetheless, the trip to Hilton Head, S.C., was informative for Watson. The captain of the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team played his two rounds with Jordan Spieth, who only confirmed Watson's earlier impressions of the youngster's skills and competitiveness.
"I had a chance to play two rounds with Jordan, who is very likely to make the Ryder Cup team," Watson said, in his usual straightforward way, about the 20-year-old Dallas native.
"I saw a mature young man playing golf," added Watson. "He's playing a lot of these golf courses for the first time . . . I watched his swing up close to see how he maneuvered the ball and how he chipped the ball and how he putted the ball. I got a good feel for Jordan."
Watson also got a gander at Patrick Reed, another young Texan. "He's got a solid golf game, solid fundamentals, also," said of Reed, who's won three times since last August.
Of particular note at Hilton Head was Watson's expressed disgust with the recent losses by the U.S. in the biennial Ryder Cup, including the Americans blowing a big lead in Sunday's singles to the Europeans two years ago at Medinah Country Club near Chicago.
The Euros have won seven of the past 10 Ryder Cups. And it doesn't figure to be easy this September, when the 2014 team event takes place on foreign soil at Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland.
"The Europeans have beaten a tattoo on the Americans and we're tired of it, and it's huge in Europe, and it's big in the United States, because we're sick and tired of getting beat."
Watson has considerable experience in the Ryder Cup, playing in four of them and compiling an impressive 10-4-1 record in 15 matches. He also captained the Americans to victory in 1993 at The Belfry in England.
Here's what the eight-time major champion had to say Friday at the conclusion of his second round at Harbour Town.
Q. Tough conditions out there today, but there were still some flashes that I saw out there today?
TOM WATSON: Well, I didn't play very well. My game was pretty sporadic, but I made a few birdies out there. I can't complain. I made a birdie at 4. I birdied 17. The par 3s were kind to me today. I still couldn't handle 18 into the wind today. That was a tough hole for old folks.
Q. Well, obviously playing well here was just one of the goals. The other was to get to know some of the younger players. Since that mission was accomplished, at least in Jordan's case, have you gotten everything you wanted to out of this week?
TOM WATSON: Well, I had a chance to play two rounds with Jordan, who is very likely to make the Ryder Cup team. I had a chance to play nine holes with Patrick Reed. And I had a chance to watch other players hit some balls on the range. I had a chance to say hello to some of the players who are in the mix. And those were my intentions this week, as well as to try to play half decently, which I failed.
Q. I wouldn't be too hard on yourself, Tom. Beyond that, how different is this time around as captain of the Ryder Cup team?
TOM WATSON: Well, there's more to do. There's a lot more media, a lot more PR involved with it now. It goes with the territory. The event has really increased in stature, even since 1993. The Europeans have beaten a tattoo on the Americans and we're tired of it, and it's huge in Europe and it's big in the United States because we're sick and tired of getting beat.
Q. Well, thank you so much for your time and I think you're the man to do something about that.
TOM WATSON: Well, it's not me. It's going to be the players. But I hope I can have a good effect on a victory come September.
Q. You had talked about Jordan earlier this week, about how you respect what he did and how he plays. Did you see anything more playing with him for two days that even supported that even more?
TOM WATSON: Well, I saw a mature young man playing golf. He's playing a lot of these golf courses for the first time. And although he did play here last year and the conditions here fooled not only me but fooled Jordan on some of the shots. We didn't play our best. As he said, we didn't play our best but it was enjoyable to play with him. And I watched his swing up close to see how he maneuvered the ball and how he chipped the ball and how he putted the ball. I got a good feel for Jordan.
Q. You also said you played nine with Patrick Reed this week. I'm assuming you probably hadn't met him before?
TOM WATSON: I hadn't, no.
Q. Can you tell me what you thought of him? Obviously there's been a lot of talk about how he feels about his game, winning three times in less than 12 months, obviously.
TOM WATSON: He's lit it up. He's got a solid golf game, solid fundamentals, also. He's looking for a driver right now. He's got a 2 wood, he's got a brassie right now that he's hitting. He crushed his driver a couple of weeks ago. Boy, when you lose your driver, it's pretty close like losing your best friend when you're out here on Tour. You can't put the ball on the fairway. You're unsure of yourself. It puts that doubt in your head and you don't play very well.
Q. There's a first tee in Brunswick County that has a signature clubhouse and practice facility on it.
TOM WATSON: My design associate, Bob Gibbons, put that together. And he worked very hard to get it put together.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.