Redskins

All signs point toward Watson as Ryder Cup captain

All signs point toward Watson as Ryder Cup captain

In the two months since a stunning loss in the Ryder Cup, the PGA of America talked about doing things differently when selecting its next captain.

Tom Watson certainly would break the mold.

Golf Digest reported on its website Tuesday night that the PGA of America plans to pick Watson, celebrated worldwide as an eight-time major champion and revered in Scotland where he won four of his five British Open titles.

``We look forward to sharing the news of the 2014 Ryder Cup captain on Thursday,'' PGA spokesman Julius Mason said when asked for comment.

The PGA of America spares no expense or amount of glitz when it comes to the Ryder Cup, and that much hasn't changed. Instead of a standard news conference, it will introduce its next captain Thursday morning during a segment on the ``Today'' show on NBC, the longtime broadcast partner at the Ryder Cup.

Later, it will have a news conference in the Empire State Building.

Watson will be 65 when the Ryder Cup is played at Gleneagles, Scotland, making him by oldest captain in U.S. history. Sam Snead was 57 when he was captain in 1969. Watson has not played a full PGA Tour schedule in 14 years, though he is still capable of showing the young kids a thing or two as one of the cleanest ball-strikers in history. Remember, it was only three years ago that Watson stood 8 feet away from capturing the British Open at Turnberry at age 59.

Stranger still, he says he has not been to a Ryder Cup since he last was captain in 1993 at The Belfry, which also was the last time the Americans won in Europe. And his relationship with Tiger Woods is much like how the weather can be in Scotland in the early fall - cold and damp.

He would be the first repeat captain since Jack Nicklaus in 1987 on his home course of Muirfield Village.

Watson said over the weekend at the Australian Open that it would be a ``great honor if I got tapped on the shoulder,'' though he said he had not spoken to the PGA.

The organization risks some fallout.

By taking a veteran of Watson's age would be to overlook Larry Nelson for the second time. Nelson is a three-time major champion - twice at the PGA Championship - who did not take up golf seriously until he returned from the Vietnam War. He had 9-3-1 record in the Ryder Cup and won all five of his matches in 1979, beating Seve Ballesteros in four of those matches. At least two former captains lobbied the PGA on behalf of Nelson, who was in line to be a captain in the 1990s.

Nelson is scheduled to play in the Father-Son Challenge pro-am Thursday and Friday in Orlando, Fla.

For the last 30 years, it was easy to predict the next American captain. The PGA of America tended to choose a former major champion still moderately active on the PGA Tour, which keeps him in touch with the current players. That ordinarily would point toward former PGA champion David Toms, though there has been discussion among PGA officials over the last month that Toms could wait until 2016 without any future candidate, such as Jim Furyk or Phil Mickelson, losing his turn.

PGA president Ted Bishop has said he wants only to win the Ryder Cup. Europe has captured the cup seven of the last nine times, the most recent loss one of the most painful. The Americans had a 10-6 advantage at Medinah only to lose on the final day when everything went right for Europe and just as much went wrong for the home team.

Love had said he wouldn't change anything about the week except the outcome, though he did not want to return as captain - at least not for 2014.

``I can guarantee you it won't be me,'' Love said about the next captain.

Paul Azinger was captain of the only U.S. team to win the Ryder Cup in the last 13 years, using a unique system of ``pods'' in which players were broken into groups of four. There was talk that he should take the U.S. team over to Scotland, though Azinger said in a text message to The Associated Press he had not been in touch with the PGA of America.

Watson told reporters in Australia he had not been back to the Ryder Cup since those `93 matches at The Belfry.

``I'd like to go back as captain,'' Watson said. ``That would be cool.''

But it might not be ideal for America's most famous player - Woods - who has a frosty relationship with Watson, even though both are Stanford alumni. Watson was highly critical in the aftermath of Woods' personal life crisis, saying he needed to show more humility and fewer tantrums.

``I think he needs to clean up his act and show the respect for the game that other people before him have shown,'' Watson said in early 2010.

The selection could have ramifications in Europe, too. Watson is so highly regarded in Scotland - in all of Europe, for that matter - that Europe might want to counter with a popular captain of its own. Darren Clarke, who won the British Open last year for his first major and is a man of the people, is under consideration with Paul McGinley. Europe is not expected to announce its captain until January at the earliest.

``Obviously if Tom does get it he is one of the legends of the game and I am sure he would be a fantastic captain not just to the team but to all aspects of the Ryder Cup,'' Clarke said Wednesday at the Australian PGA. ``The man is a huge name in the world of golf and rightly so, I think he would make a fantastic captain for America.''

---

Sports Writer Dennis Passa in Coolum, Australia, contributed to this report.

Quick Links

That time Antonio Brown and Kyler Murray practiced together

murray-brown.png
USA TODAY SPORTS

That time Antonio Brown and Kyler Murray practiced together

Thanks to Antonio Brown, we have the hopes and dreams of a splashy off-season for the Washington Redskins in one tidy four-second video.

Brown, the NFL’s best receiver, is angling for a trade out of Pittsburgh.

Kyler Murray is the reigning Heisman Trophy quarterback and a projected 2019 first round pick.

During the NFC Championship game, the Steelers wide receiver tweeted out a clip of him hauling in a deep pass from the University of Oklahoma product. Yes, that’s going to draw some eyeballs, perhaps especially from fans of a team with quarterback uncertainty and lacking offensive playmakers.

Another OU standout, wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown”, joined his cousin Antonio and Murray for the workout. This isn’t the first time all three shared a field.

View this post on Instagram

The best rolled thru today, appreciate you @ab 📞

A post shared by Kyler Murray (@kyler1murray) on

Marquise Brown, a true speed threat, could become the first wide receiver selected in the 2019 draft.

There’s no way for the Redskins to land all three. Even two seems highly unlikely considering the two prospects are projected first-round selections and acquiring Brown would cost a No. 1 and plenty more. It’s still cool to dream. Considering the quarterback concerns with Alex Smith, Jamison Crowder entering free agency and the need for more pieces regardless, even landing one of them would work.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

Quick Links

Defense optional as Caps handed 8-5 loss in Chicago

Defense optional as Caps handed 8-5 loss in Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks handed the Capitals their fifth straight loss on Sunday in an ugly 8-5 defeat. All five of Washington's goals came from defensemen as the team's top forwards continued to struggle.

Here are five reasons the Caps lost.

Missed early opportunities

The game got off to a great start. Tom Wilson fed Jakub Vrana in the middle for a great early opportunity and Lars Eller had another shot with the rebound. Washington also got a power play less than two minutes into the game and was brilliant with the setup, keeping the puck in the zone for the full two minutes and getting a number of high-quality opportunities.

But they didn’t score and that soon loomed very large.

Brandon Saad put Chicago on the board 6:36 into the first and Patrick Kane scored 80 seconds later to make it 2-0, thus erasing the Caps’ strong start.

The goals have been hard to come by for the Caps so when they had the opportunity to take the early lead, they absolutely had to finish. They didn’t and the game got away from them as a result.

A bad play by Madison Bowey

Bowey will be cringing at the replay of the Saad goal for a while. Saad broke the puck out of the defensive zone and carried it into the neutral zone. Bowey had a bead on him until Saad cut to the center. Suddenly Bowey was caught flat footed. He reached for Saad with a weak stick check which Saad easily fought through with no real resistance and he was in on net. He finished the play with the game’s first goal.

 An own-goal

This was really the moment when you realized this was not going to be a good day for Washington.

Down 2-0, Brooks Orpik managed to sneak a softy through goalie Colin Delia to make it 2-1. Just 28 seconds later, however, bad luck struck the Caps yet again.

Dmitry Orlov and Jonathan Toews battled for the puck right in front of the crease and it bounced into he air. Orlov swiped at it with his glove to try to clear it from danger, but instead knocked it right over Holtby and into the net. The own goal made it 3-1 and signaled that Washington was in for a long day.

An ill-advised penalty

This game felt like it quickly was getting out of hand. Somehow, however, the Caps managed to keep things close. Dmitry Orlov snuck another squeaker through Delia in the second and John Carlson fired a one-timer early in the third to make the score 4-3. All of a sudden, the Caps had signs of life. With all the momentum on their side, however, Nicklas Backstrom was whistled for hooking Toews just 23 seconds later.

You could tell what was about to happen.

Sure enough, Kane scored 13 seconds into the power play to restore the Blackhawks’ two-goal lead.

The Toews hat trick

Once again, Washington tried to battle back. Matt Niskanen scored with just over six minutes remaining in the game, the fifth goal from a Caps’ defenseman, to pull the score to 6-5. Toews provided the coffin nail just over a minute later with an absolutely brutal play on Orlov.

Toews entered the offensive zone and Orlov took an awful approach. Toews finessed the puck right in front of Orlov which he should have been able to easily sweep away. Instead, he whiffed completely allowing Toews to regain the puck, step past Orlov and fired it under the pad and into the net.

MORE CAPS NEWS: