AS THE fall-out from America’s Ryder Cup defeat at Gleneagles continues, Tom Watson has been accused of scoffing at a gift from his players and ridiculing European team members.
He is also said to have started a team meeting last Saturday night by denigrating the Americans’ play that afternoon. “You stink at foursomes,” he said of his team losing 7-1 in the alternate shot format over the opening two days, according to sources.
The following day, after the Americans had been beaten 16 1/2-11 1/2, Phil Mickelson delivered a stinging verdict on Watson’s captaincy. Now it has emerged that, far from inspiring his players heading into the singles, the five-times Open champion almost demotivated them.
“You could have heard a pin drop in that room,” one of those in attendance at the Saturday night get-together in Gleneagles Hotel told broadcaster ESPN. “He [Watson] was pissed [off]. It all went from there.”
After Watson, the event’s oldest captain at 65, praised two of his rookies, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, he discussed the following day’s singles pairings and ridiculed several members of the European side as he went through the match-ups. Watson was subsequently presented with a gift by Jim Furyk – a replica of the Ryder Cup trophy that was signed by every member of the team – but seemed unimpressed by the gesture.
“He said it basically means nothing to me unless we win tomorrow,” said a source, while another added: “It was fairly shocking that he treated this thoughtful gift with such disdain.”