Tom Watson spans the generations

Tom Watson
Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
Age is just a number to new Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson.

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Sunday, December 16, 2012 | 7:19 p.m.

When Tom Watson was named captain of the U.S. team for the 2014 Ryder Cup on Thursday, a few people wondered whether the 63-year-old would be able to relate to the 20-somethings and 30-somethings that will make up his squad at Gleneagles.

That, however, is a ridiculous question. Why? Well, because only days before Watson accepted his new job, he was busy making friends with Asia's best 14-year-old golfer.

Yes, a week ago at the Australian Open – where Watson not only made the cut but shot the round of the day on Sunday – he was introduced to Guan Tianlang, the Chinese phenom whose recent victory in the Asia-Pacific Amateur earned him a spot in the Masters next spring.

After his second round in Sydney, Guan lined up with several other fans to get Watson's autograph on his cap. Watson obliged, and the two spent a few minutes chatting.

"He said I was doing pretty well and he said I am still a kid," Guan told Reuters afterward.

"I asked him if he was going to the Masters and he said 'yes,'" Guan said. "And then he said, 'let's play a practice round on Tuesday afternoon'."

If Watson teaches Guan too much, it might be a good thing the youngster isn't eligible to play in the Ryder Cup. But the Americans on the 2019 Presidents Cup team better watch out.