Captain's Blog: 'It’s still very unsettled'
Leading up to the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland, U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson will periodically check in with PGA.com to talk about the various things going on in his life on the course, off the course and in his Ryder Cup preparations. This is the eighth installment of Watson's, 'Captain's Blog,' as told to PGA.com's T.J. Auclair.
By Tom Watson
2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain
When I last wrote, it was just before the start of the Accenture Match Play Championship. I have to say, I was just amazed with the play of the young Frenchman, Victor Dubuisson, in the final there against Jason Day.
I don't tweet very much, but I did tweet out that those were the two greatest recovery shots I had ever seen in my life, coming out of the desert and making the putts like Victor did on the 19th and 20th holes of that match.
There's a lot of luck involved but there's a lot of feel involved, too. The next thing is to hole a putt and to stay in it. He showed me a lot there. Of course, right now he's at the top of the European Ryder Cup points list and he's third in the Ryder Cup world points list. Looks like he's going to be on the team. I'm sure that the people in France (which is going to hold the Ryder Cup in four years) are expecting a great deal out of Victor.
Just last week, Captain Paul McGinley announced two of his European Team Vice Captains would be Sam Torrance and Des Smyth. Some have noted that both Paul and I have elected to select Vice Captains that have been around for a long time -- Andy North and Raymond Floyd for me -- and that's a little different than recent years. Someone asked what the pluses and minuses are to having older Vice Captains. I don't think there’s any minus.
I think the pluses far outweigh any sort of minuses you might have. People say if I use the minus angle first, you're not in tune, you don't know these guys. Well, the one thing I hope everyone on the Ryder Cup team understands, all the players understand, is that we are there to help provide them the environment in which they can win the Ryder Cup.
We can be there as confidants, they can come to us as confidants. We know what the Ryder Cup is all about, we've been there, and we played in it, especially Raymond. Raymond's been both a captain and a player many times and who better to have as a confidant than somebody like Raymond Floyd for a young player who's never been on a Ryder Cup team. You don't need a friend up there, you need somebody who's been there to tell you what it's all about, to help direct you, to say these are the things to expect. That's the most important thing, that's what they bring to it, those are the positives. There's so many positives that they bring to it -- except the fact that we probably don't tweet as much as the younger guys do. I reluctantly tweet.
Looking at the U.S. points list right now, a lot of things have changed in just the last couple of months. For a while there, the top 12 consisted mostly of the 12 players that were on the 2012 team at Medinah. That's not the case anymore. There are a lot of new faces, but remember -- it's like a football game right now when it comes to accumulating points and we're still just in the first quarter. It’s still very unsettled.
We have a young looking team right now as you look down on it. We do have some experience, but the youth are making waves. You have Jimmy Walker who's won three times, Patrick Reed's right in there, of course Dustin Johnson has been lighting it up and playing well. You've got a good nucleus right there.
As for Reed, who won at Doral last week, we heard the top-5 player in the world comments after his win. When you win, you have that aura that you're at the top of your game and it's hard for anybody to beat you. That's a good place to be. As we all know, the game can turn on you and it will turn on you and you'll go through the low spells. What Patrick said, I can understand him saying that, but after winning three of his last 14 events, I guess maybe he has a little bit of street cred. After my first event winning, I said my goal was to be the best golfer in the world. After winning three out of the last 14, you've got to give the guy a little bit of credit.
Then you have the fact that Tiger has not played well and is injured. There's a story in itself. I want Tiger to be on the team in the worst way, I just hope he's healthy enough to be able to play. It's really early yet, way too early to tell. Ted Bishop, the President of the PGA, is our statistician and he's calculated it's going to take 4,637 points to be in the top 9 to get on the team. Who knows what the points are going to be but nobody's really gotten up to that level. I trust that Ted's pretty accurate as far as what that point level's going to be to make the team.
In some behind-the-scenes Ryder Cup news, we've been going back and forth on rain suits. I've been wearing them in the shower -- I remember Ian Woosnam doing that too -- to test them out. I'm trying to make sure they're warm enough, waterproof enough and comfortable enough for the conditions we'll face over in Scotland.
This week I'm out in California for the Toshiba Classic on the Champions Tour. My game is a little unsettled right now, but the putting has been really good and that always makes up for mistakes elsewhere. If you can rely on the putting while you're getting your long game in place, you'll do well. I haven't had that feeling with my putting for a long time. Right now my putting is in position and I need to get the long game in shape.
Finally, as I mentioned in the last blog post, I made it out to Arizona to see my Kansas City Royals at Spring Training. It was great to hear the sound of the bat again, especially up close like that in those smaller Spring Training parks. I was able to talk to manager Ned Yost, Royals owner David Glass and I also had the chance to see my friend, George Brett. George loves being there. It was great to be around those guys.
Follow 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson on Twitter, @TomWatsonPGA.