#ReactionDecember 13, 2012

Reaction to announcement of Tom Watson's 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy

By Stephen Hennessey

It's official.

The PGA of America announced Thursday morning — __following Tuesday's report from our Tim Rosaforte __— that the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for 2014 will be Tom Watson.

After the announcement on the "Today" show with NBC's Matt Lauer, the golf world began reacting to the news that Watson would assume the captaincy again 21 years after his win at the Belfry in 1993.

The initial buzz seemed to be overwhelmingly positive from most U.S. golf fans. It even had Tom Watson and "Ryder Cup" trending on Twitter, impressive for golf to create such worldwide discussion in December.

A couple of examples:

From Golf Digest's Facebook page: Scott Rich: "Simply the best! USA heading back to the winner's circle!!"

Larry Silman: "Good news. No more analysis paralysis. Play the hot hands. Bench the cold ones. Egos checked at the door."

Tyrone Haskett: "They couldn't have made a better choice."

From Anthony Distler (@Anthdistler on Twitter): "It's official -- Tom Watson has been named Ryder Cup captain. Great day in golf! What a gentleman, and the perfect captain."

D.T on GeoffShackelford.com: "Watson is the perfect captain to shock Tiger out of his Ryder Cup coma. I think this will be a good thing for Tiger, and I believe Tiger will respond with some checks in the win column."


A victorious group: The 1993 Ryder Cup team, captained by Watson, is the last U.S. team to win on foreign soil. Photograph: Getty Images

DLYGrisse on GolfWRX.com: "The US needs a leader, Tom will have the respect of everyone on the team.  Just cycling through the guys who are almost 50 and still playing the tour does not always give you a good coach.  DLIII was a nice guy, and friends with many, but when I think leader he is not at the top of my list. AND HE WONT BE AFRAID TO MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS....this is important."

The last U.S. captain to lead a winning Ryder Cup team, Paul Azinger in 2008, agreed with the PGA of America on its decision, although there was a contingent of folks calling for him to lead the team again:

Paul Azinger (@PaulAzinger) on Twitter: "Saw tremendous value in having Dave and Raymond's no nonsense old school of thinking at our 2008 RC. Tom will bring that same intangible."

Related: Sirak: Why Watson as Ryder Cup choice is a smart move

From current Ryder Cuppers:

Keegan Bradley, who was 7 years old in 1993 when Watson led the team to victory at the Belfry, on Twitter (@Keegan_Bradley): "Congrats to Tom Watson on being named USA Ryder cup captain!!! I hope to have the privilege to play for him."

Dustin Johnson on Twitter (@D_Johnson): "Tom Watson will be 2014 Ryder Cup Capt...love the guy!!! Larry Nelson better get his chance at some point though."

Chip Beck, who owns a 6-2-1 record in three Cups for the U.S., on Twitter (@ChipBeck59): "Congratulations Tom, I know he brings out the best in everyone. He did in me. 1993 Ryder Cup!"

1991 PGA Champ Steve Elkington on Twitter (@ElkPGA): "Tom Watson said last week in Auz "to be Ryder Cup captain again would be cool." So this week the PGA picks him? Now That's cool!!!"

Former player and current broadcaster Arron Oberholser (@ArronOberholser) still thinks three-time major champion Larry Nelson is still getting a raw deal: "Man, who did poor Larry Nelson tick off at @ThePGAofAmerica . Disgraceful boys. At least give him the dignity of a phone call. #cowards"

Related: Nelson disappointed in Ryder Cup captaincy decision

All the recent Ryder Cup talk inspired Ben Crane to take to Twitter, provoked by some playful smack talk between Rory McIlroy and Keegan Bradley yesterday on Twitter.

Ben Crane (@bencranegolf): "I love the Keegan/Rory Ryder Cup banter. Such an electric event. It's why I'm in the gym right now. I want in. #USA"

And Matteo Manassero, who played with Watson, one of his idols, at the 2009 British Open at age 16 on Twitter: "I'm personally very happy for Tom Watson he is such a great man. #RyderCup"

The endless stream of consciousness from writers on Twitter is worthwhile to read, but here's a selection of three tweets that are worth reading:

Golf Digest Executive Editor Mike O'Malley on Twitter (@GD_MikeO): "Asked [Golf World European correspondent] @JohnHuggan to rank following in order of esteem in which they are held by Scots. His answer: "Today: 1 Nicklaus, 2 Watson, 3 Jones."

Golf World Contributing Writer Jim Moriarty (@GWMoriarty) on Twitter: "Tom Watson named Ryder Cup captain. Tiger Woods pulls hammy September 2014."

Dave Tindall, SkySports.com golf writer: "Too old? Tom Watson has come closer to winning a major than Tiger Woods in the last four years."

—Stephen Hennessey

Follow @s_hennesseyGD