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Teed Off (16-12-2012)

Update: December, 19/2012 - 15:50

with Robert Bicknell

It seems that the US team will see a familiar face taking over the reigns for the 2014 Ryder Cup tournament at Gleneagles in Scotland…

Tom Watson.

Watson has not been seen at a Ryder Cup event since the Belfry in 1993, which kinda makes his selection as a two-time captain a little strange. Couple that with the PGA overlooking Larry Nelson, a three-time major winner, and the whole thing becomes questionable.

Are we really that desperate to win?

With the event held in Scotland, Watson almost singlehandedly erases Europe's home course advantage as he is quite beloved by the fans there. But that isn't to say they will not pull hard for their own team, but maybe they will not jeer as much.

Another interesting dynamic comes into play with Watson as captain as he really doesn't like Tiger Woods all that much and has commented publically that Woods needs "…to clean up his act and show the respect for the game that other people before him have shown".

Would Watson pick a team that didn't include Tiger Woods? Does anyone have the guts to make a decision like that and stick to it?

You know the PGA wouldn't sit still for a second. Woods remains their highest drawing card in terms of sponsor-revenue. So does money triumph over putting together the best team possible?

It's easy (and fun) to speculate now about what will happen two years from now, but for the sake of argument, if Woods is not in top form, would anyone have the brass to not select him as a captain's pick?

Personally, unless Tiger becomes an unstoppable juggernaut again, I wouldn't put him on the team. Mickelson either.

I would let both of them watch it from the sanctity of their own homes or Krispy Kreme parking lots and, instead, would load the team with up and coming future stars who don't enter with an ego and an entourage of sycophants.

I was bored out of my skull the other night and found WWE wrestling on one of the Thai sports channels. I hardly recognized anyone. Where was Undertaker, the Rock, Stone Cold, Christian or any of the other big names?

Simply put, they got old and hurt and moved aside to let the younger kids bask in the limelight. By the end of the show, I really didn't miss the old guys as much as I thought I would because the younger kids were quite entertaining, even if they were still a little wet behind the ears.

If wrestling, which is a multi-billion dollar a year business, can bench the big names in search of a winning formula to entertain the fans, why can't the PGA do the same and give us a winning team without massive egos?

To continue in the wrestling analogy, when that industry experienced the "Monday Night Wars" between WWE's "Raw" and WCW's "Nitro", the former ended up on top simply because they continued to create new stars, whereas WCW simply poached older established veterans from WWE.

It's obvious that, to have longevity, you MUST continue to generate new talent instead of relying on aging stars. Hulk Hogan might have been the first big icon, but Stone Cold Steve Austin eclipsed him in every single measurable way – butts in seats, merchandise sales, etc.

If the US wants to get back to winning Ryder Cups, they have to follow the same formula of generating and promoting new talent. They cannot simply rely on aged "stars" whose egos (and agents) demand respect for past achievements even though their current level of play is far below their heyday.

The Ryder Cup is not about past glories, but about the here and now.

Another good reason to by-pass some of the older guys is because younger players tend to flock together much more readily. They can get into that "team" mentality faster than older "stars who believe the world revolves around them.

The younger kids are still trying to reach that point and aren't afraid to lose and as any good coach will tell you, you have to lose in order to learn how to win.

Tom Watson was a great former coach and I believe he will be one again, but he needs to do it his way and without armchair generals making demands on him. — VNS

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