Even more unflattering details about Tom Watson’s Ryder Cup captaincy emerged over the weekend, with Golfweek magazine reporting that Watson told some of the U.S. team members that he had selected Bill Haas as his final captain’s pick, only to change his mind the morning the picks were due.
The 11th-hour move wasn’t a surprise: Two weeks ago, GolfChannel.com’s Jason Sobel reported that Webb Simpson had effectively texted his way onto the team, sending Watson an early-morning text message on Sept. 2 – the day the picks were announced – to state his case as to why he should be a part of the 12-man team. Where it gets messy is the fact that Watson reportedly informed some team members that his final captain’s pick was Haas, not Simpson, as they traveled from Boston to Denver for the BMW Championship.
Golfweek also reported that Watson didn’t consult any team members while attempting to decide his third captain’s pick, but he did seek the counsel of his assistant captains and, most interestingly, Tiger Woods. (It isn’t known how Woods advised Watson.)
Though Haas would have been a Ryder Cup rookie, he played on a pair of victorious Presidents Cup teams and had three consecutive top-15 finishes at the Wyndham, Barclays and Deutsche Bank. Simpson, it turned out, played poorly during a Friday foursomes loss with Bubba Watson, then sat until Sunday singles, when he secured a half-point in his match against Ian Poulter when the overall outcome was no longer in doubt.
The captain has final say on how his team is comprised, of course, but this impulsive move proved to be the first of many for Watson, who came under scrutiny for sitting the red-hot rookie pairing of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, and for benching Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley for both sessions Saturday.