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Tom Watson Returns as U.S. Ryder Cup Captain

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Watson was officially announced the next U.S. captain Thursday on the “Today” show.

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The last time Tom Watson was captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team was the last time the Yanks traveled across the Atlantic and actually came home with the Cup. That was 1993 and the Americans won 15-13 at the Belfry.

Seems a lot longer ago than that, doesn’t it? Losing has a way of making time pass slowly. Tiger Woods was still in high school and Rory McIroy was four years old when the Yanks won its last Ryder Cup road game.

More importantly, when the U.S. won in England in 1993, it appeared as if the competitive pendulum of the Cup had swung back toward this side of the pond and away from Europe.

The Euros ended what was nearly an O-for-the-20th-century drought with victories in 1985 and ’87, then retained the Cup with a tie in 1989. But the Americans set things right by winning the “War by the Shore” at Kiawah in 1991 followed by the triumph at the Belfry.

But not so fast, Sparky. Since that victory in 1993, the United States has won only twice, both on home soil — in 1999 at Brookline and in 2008 at Valhalla. During that stretch since Watson won as captain, Europe has packed the Cup up and taken it home seven times, including five of the last six. Suddenly, the Yanks have become for Team Europe what the Washington Generals were for the Harlem Globetrotters — friendly foils good for a laugh and a loss.

Related: How recent U.S. Ryder Cup captains fared

“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,” PGA of America president Ted Bishop said Thursday in making the announcement.

“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,” Bishop said.

The announcement was made on the “Today” show, which shockingly is on NBC, the network that broadcasts the Ryder Cup. Funny how that works.

And Watson was introduced to the media at the Empire State Building, which hadn’t hosted someone facing such a monumental task since King Kong climbed it with Fay Wray in his hand.

So is picking a guy who will be 65 years old when the competition is held at Gleneagles in Scotland in 2014 going to help? Well, it couldn’t hurt.

What Watson knows about golf, and winning, he hasn’t forgotten. What he doesn’t know about the current players, he can learn. He’s a smart guy.

Give the PGA of America — and Bishop — credit for this: They are trying something different. Clearly, picking a player to be captain who was looking for something to do while biding time between the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour was not working.

Look for Watson to be loaded with bold innovations and a dynamic managing style. Look for a radical new approach to how the U.S. side treats the Ryder Cup.

“Well, I really haven’t thought much about changing the approach,” Watson said when asked what he would do differently. “I’m going to probably do the same things, try to make it easy for the players. The PGA of America does that.” OK, let’s hold that innovation thought for now.

One thing we do know is that Watson will spend the next 20 months until the Ryder Cup being asked how things are going with Tiger Woods, whom Watson tweaked a bit post scandal by saying he needed to show more respect for the game.

“Well, I hope Tiger, first of all, is on my team,” Watson said Thursday. “My relationship with Tiger is fine,” Watson said, adding that if Woods did not qualify for the squad in 2014 “you can bet that he’s going to be No. 1 on my pick list.” Might not be a good idea to make that commitment this early.

The last time Watson was the Ryder Cup captain he created a bit of a stir by not allowing his players to sign autographs at the pre-event gala dinner, even blowing off members of the European team. Watson later apologized, but it does show the competitive fire he will bring to the U.S. team room.

“The most important thing is that we are going to pull out all the stops to beat you guys,” Watson said to a member of the European media. “The bottom line is to win. That’s the most important thing. I will do it in style and the grace in which we play the game.”

Watson is adored in Scotland, in part because he’s won the British Open five times and in part because of the classy and competitive way he handles both winning and losing. His fire will be appreciated by fans of the other side, and that might help the Americans.

Read More http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/2012-12/tom-watson-us-captain-sirak?currentPage=2

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  1. tiger comeback 2013

    Dec 31, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    USA with woods, bubba and mickleson on form and captain fantasic tom watson will bring the game to europe i think 14 points for US 12 for europe

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5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Spotted at Shinnecock: #RVLife, superb staff bags, stellar stampings

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We’re on the famed grounds of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the second major of the year. With the U.S. Open returned to such a visually and historically rich venue, it may be a bit tough to focus on equipment.

Nevertheless, we spotted some cool stuff, Tuesday, as the players move ever closer to the second major of th eyear.

Let’s get to the photos.

#RVLife propronent, Jason Day’s putter cover is incredible.

Michael Greller displays an essential caddie skill…

Face of Tiger’s wedge. Do these look like standard TaylorMade MG grooves to you?

Greatest side panel on a bag ever?

Who isn’t happy to see “Woods” on USGA tournament signage?

Shintaro Ban’s unique dot stamping is, well, money.

A look at the Bridgestone U.S. Open staff bag and headcovers.

Kenny Perry: Still gaming R7 irons.

Scott Gregory with some solid wedge stamping.

What is this lead taped and war torn beauty?

All our photos from Tuesday

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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