One thing we know about Tom Watson, who appears to be the choice for a second time to be the captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team: he’s not afraid to express an opinion.
He recently has gone on record saying things like golf has no place in the Olympics, which goes against the company line of the game which believes that golf in the 2016 Summer Games will help grown the game.
Watson believes in integrity and honesty and the values of the game. He is an old-school historian of the game, and he was never afraid of a challenge in the game, whether it be from Jack Nicklaus, a tough course or a trend or movement he didn’t like.
And one of his favorite targets over the last few years has been Tiger Woods. Watson has not be shy in criticizing Woods for his conduct on and off the course.
“His swearing and his club throwing, should, that should end. That’s not part of what we want to project as far as the professional golf tour is concerned,” Watson said a few years ago. Problem is, Woods has generally not cared what other people think and has tended to ice out the people who are critical of him.
But now Watson will be the captain of Woods in the Ryder Cup. And the no-nonsense Watson will expect his team to behave properly in the matches in the homeland of the game, Scotland. Watson is revered in Scotland, having won four of his five British Open titles in that country. It might be the only country where Woods would lose a popularity contest to Watson among fans.
The last time Watson was the Ryder Cup captain, the U.S. team won in England in 1993 15-13. And Tiger Woods was three years from turning pro.
Watson will not coddle players, but he’s smart enough to know which players are important for his team. But expect a lot of questions over the next two years about how Watson expects to handle Woods, and how Woods will react to being handled by Watson.