HEXHAM, England — U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson made his version of a long distance pre-game speech Thursday, providing tips and words of encouragement for the U.S. PGA Cup Team.
Watson made his surprise call before the U.S. Team marched in the Opening Ceremony at Slaley Hall.
U.S. PGA Cup Captain Allen Wronowski asked Watson if he had any tips for the team of 10 PGA club professionals attempting to hold on to the Llandudno Trophy while facing a strong Great Britain & Ireland unit.
“Go out and stay warm, and the most important thing is keep your hands and head warm,” said Watson. “It’s not rocket science. You pros all know that if you get your hands cold, you can’t feel a damn thing.
“There are certain holes out there that are going to play tougher than others. Get normal expectations of how those holes are going to play and that will help you through match play,” Watson added. “I am a firm believer in that. It is not a perfect game over there, that’s for sure. But you just have to be one hole more perfect than your opponents.”
Practicing the tough shots on the practice range before a match, Watson said, and “working until you hit it right” is one of his methods that proved fruitful over his career. “That will give you the extra boost of confidence that you will face when you face them on the course,” he said.
Watson said playing foursomes is a simple formula: “You hope that you have a partner who makes everything.”
The last Ryder Cup Captain to lead America to victory in Europe (1993 at The Belfry), Watson welcomed Wronowski’s description of a 10-member U.S. PGA Cup Team. “Our goal is to keep a PGA Cup winning streak alive,” said Wronowski. “We’re going to try to win here and try to get you some great momentum into the Ryder Cup.”
“Well, we need that,” said Watson. “We’ve been getting our butts kicked in the Ryder Cup, and I’m tired of that stuff. You go out there and take care of business. I will point that out to my team when we get over there to Scotland next year.
“Let’s keep the train running along the tracks that it is supposed to run on,” Watson said, adding that: “May everyone there have the lucky bounce when you need it most.”