Tom Watson hasn't wasted any time preparing for his encore as Ryder Cup captain.
One week ago today, Watson officially was named Ryder Cup captain for the United States in the 2014 event at the Centenary course in Gleneagles, Scotland. Earlier this morning, GCM was on site as Watson met with his hometown media at Kansas City Country Club, the place where he learned the game and, obviously, learned it pretty darn well. Eight major championships is solid proof.
His next objective is restoring glory to the stars and stripes. The U.S. has lost five of the last six Ryder Cups, including a setback in September at Medinah. And, the red, white and blue has not prevailed in a Ryder Cup overseas since 1993. That also happens to be when Watson served as captain in the matches at The Belfry.
More than two decades later, Watson is focused on Scotland, a land he knows extremely well, and has fared even better. Four of his five British Open championships took place in Scotland; and who can forget the one that got away three years ago at Turnberry?
He, though, prefers to talk about The Jack Nicklaus-designed Centenary course. Although he has not played it in its present form, Watson already has a decent handle on it.
"I've taken a virtual tour of every hole on the golf course," Watson says. "It's a beautiful golf course. It has lots of angles, meaning it's not straight. Traditionally, links courses are kind of straight, holes run kind of straight, and they put bunkers to the side, and it gives you alleyways to get onto the greens. There (Centenary course), there's more angles, more doglegs."
Bottom line in Watson's world?
"We've been getting our clocks cleaned by them (Europeans), and it's time to stop that," he says.
"I was up in South Dakota with the Wounded Warriors Project on a pheasant shoot and pheasant hunt, in the middle of a field, walking, and I get a phone call," Watson says, who wasn't sure if he should take the call, decided to answer, and heard the voice of Ted Bishop, who now is the new president of the PGA of America, which oversees the Ryder Cup.
Fast forward to this year. Bishop was among a group that flew to Kansas City to formally offer Watson the captain position.
"I always wanted to be captain again," Watson says, "particularly over there."
Watson, who recorded a nifty 10-4-1 mark as a Ryder Cup player from 1977 to 1989, simply smiles when asked whether the Scots' adoration of him could benefit the U.S. in two years.
"I've had a pretty good record over there, but it's not going to change their allegiances when it comes to the Ryder Cup, I can assure you," he says.
Watson says he plans to continue to play in 2013, including the Masters, British Open and perhaps even the PGA Championship, which is the one major he has not won on the regular tour. He also will monitor the U.S. players, chart their progress. Watson will pay close attention to how they perform in less than ideal weather circumstances, an area in which he flourished in his heyday.
And don't even ask him what type of threads the U.S. will wear, whether it be spiffy shirts or flashy pants. He says it won't matter.
"These fancy outfits with beautiful sweaters, nice shirts and slacks ... all you're going to see are rainsuits," Watson says with a grin. "So we better get really good-looking rainsuits."