ORLANDO, Fla. – Although Larry Nelson has now dropped to 0 for 3 in Ryder Cup captain appointments and his age – he would be 69 when the matches are held in 2016 – would suggest his time has passed, the PGA of America did offer a glimmer of hope for the three-time major champion Thursday.
“The book is not closed on Larry Nelson,” PGA president Ted Bishop said following the announcement that Tom Watson would captain the 2014 team in Scotland.
The unspoken undercurrent of Thursday’s break from the norm for the PGA would make Nelson, and others who have been passed over for a captaincy like Mark O’Meara and Hale Irwin, more palatable options going forward, particularly if Watson became the first U.S. captain to win an overseas Ryder Cup since 1993.
“Now that they've gone outside the box and certainly broke the mold they can do whatever they want,” said Davis Love III, this year’s captain.
After three misses, first in 1995, then ’97 and now for the ’14 captaincy, Nelson wasn’t planning on spending the next two years waiting for a phone call from the PGA.
“I'd like them to put it in writing in a contract that's irrevocable,” smiled Nelson, who is playing this week’s PNC Father/Son Challenge in Orlando. “I heard that in '95 and it didn't happen in '97 . . . I've been told that before and it didn't work out. I would always love to have the opportunity.”