Tom Watson (right) was surprised at the gallery reaction to a missed putt at the 1977 Ryder Cup, but it certainly didn't slow him and partner Hubert Green down.
It seems like every time I hear Tom Watson talk, he's in complete command of the sitation. But, he revealed Tuesday, he got caught by surprise once on the golf course – and, to this day, he remembers the moment vividly.
It was the Friday of the 1977 Ryder Cup – Watson's first Ryder Cup – at Royal Lytham and St. Annes in England. Watson was paired with Hubert Green in four-balls and they got off to a great start, building a 5-up lead after 10 holes against Tommy Horton and Brian Barnes. Then came the par-5 11th.
''I knock it on in two. … I leave my putt about five feet short, Tommy Horton makes it and I miss – and when I missed, there was a cheer that went up.
''That was the first time I had ever missed a putt and somebody really cheered,'' Watson explained on Tuesday as he announced Ray Floyd as a vice captain for his 2014 team. ''I got the feeling what the Ryder Cup's about right there. … It surprised me.''
And after the initial shock wore off, Watson was left with one other feeling.
''It angered me,'' he said. ''Yeah, I looked at it rationally pretty much, pretty much rationally, but I still had some anger. I didn't like to be cheered against. But I said, wait a minute, it's us versus them here. Figured it out pretty quick. But it surprised me.''
The surprise wore off pretty quickly, though. Watson and Green went on to a 5&4 victory and the United States won the match by a convincing 12 ½ to 7 ½ points.