Saying he was “certainly disappointed, but not totally surprised,” Larry Nelson responded Wednesday to reports that he has been passed up for the Ryder Cup captaincy for the third time.
“It’s disappointing,” he said on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive.” “That’s the way it is and looks like that’s the way it’s going to be. Certainly it’s not devastating. We don’t quite understand how the decisions are made or what goes into those, but we just have to kind of react to what those are.”
In 1995, Nelson said that he would step aside to allow Lanny Wadkins to assume the leadership role at Oak Hill, under the assumption that he would get the nod two years later, at Valderrama. Instead, Tom Kite was named captain.
“It’s tough because it’s kind of the third time this has happened,” Nelson said, referring to the ’95 and ’97 captaincies. “It seemed to gather more momentum this year than possibly in the past. I’m certainly appreciative of the thousands of people who tweeted or sent me emails who were hoping this might be the time.
“I’m flattered, certainly disappointed. I don’t know why the decision was made the way it was, but you just have to honor that.”
Asked if he would consider being one of Watson’s potential assistant captains, Nelson, 65, replied, “I don’t think I would do that. It’s one of those things that there’s a lot of time and effort involved, whether being the assistant or regular captain. I just don’t know how I’d feel about that, but right off the top of my head I don’t think I would do it this time.”
Even with the snub, Nelson applauded the PGA for abandoning its traditional way of choosing a captain and stressed that, “this is the direction that they need to be headed.”
“The only thing is that there are people who had less credentials that have been (captain), and there are those who have more credentials who haven’t been,” said Nelson, a three-time major champion who went 9-3-1 in his Ryder Cup career. “It’s not a decision I can make. It’s a decision that people I haven’t even talked to made.”