GLENEAGLES, Scotland – Twenty-one years ago, the last time the U.S. won the Ryder Cup on European soil and – coincidentally or not – the last time Tom Watson captained the team, Watson offered a constant rallying cry toward his players.
“Remember,” he told them, “everything they invented, we perfected.”
The insinuation wasn’t subtle. Watson was telling his team that while the Europeans might have been the ones who started playing the game in Scottish fields centuries earlier, it was the Americans who played it better.
On Wednesday, Watson was asked if he would reprise that rallying cry for his current team.
“Well, that was a motivating thought back then,” he said with a laugh. “I'm using different thoughts this time.”
When pressed by a European journalist as to whether Americans have “perfected the sport,” the captain coolly demurred.
“No, I'm not going to answer that. We certainly had our run of really good golf, and the run is favoring the Europeans right now with Rory [McIlroy] and Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer. There are ebbs and flows to the careers of people and to eras of golfers,” Watson said. “As we all know when we went into this thing, the first comment was: Well, the European team is favored. Well, you've got the names. You've got the guys who have really played some great golf. But that changes on Friday morning when we tee it up. Everybody's the same. That's the way I look at it.”