PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – U.S. captain Tom Watson added Raymond Floyd to his Ryder Cup staff Feb. 11 in a bid to help the Americans regain the cup this fall at Gleneagles, Scotland.
Floyd owns more Ryder Cup experience than even Watson, having played in eight matches to Watson’s four. The American captain values veteran leadership throughout the team, including with his assistants, Floyd and the previously selected Andy North. The U.S. has lost to Europe in seven of the past nine Ryder Cups after having dominated the biennial series.
“It’s great to have somebody with experience,” Watson said during a news conference at Riviera Country Club, site of this week’s Northern Trust Open. “It’s great to have somebody who can really play. Raymond has had a tremendous amount of Ryder Cup experience.”
Floyd, 71, compiled a 12-16-3 Ryder Cup record. His total of 31 career matches stands sixth on the all-time U.S. list, behind Phil Mickelson (38), Billy Casper (37), Arnold Palmer (32), Lanny Wadkins (34) and Tiger Woods (33). Floyd won 22 times on the PGA Tour, including four majors (1969 PGA, 1976 Masters, 1982 PGA and 1986 U.S. Open), and 14 Champions Tour titles en route to a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
But Floyd will not be teeing it up and will have to impart his knowledge and experience to a group of players who, if selected today, would include at least four rookies.
“All our responsibilities are to see that these guys are comfortable, (that) they are happy with the surroundings, and we try to be an uplifting spirit,” Floyd said. “If there are any questions, they have to be comfortable to come to us, and I think that’s what we bring to the party and we’ve all been there and hopefully they will respect that and they will respond.”
Watson knows that his somewhat controversial selection as captain adds pressure to bring the cup back to the U.S. after a 2012 loss at Medinah.
“In my opinion, he couldn’t be a better person from the standpoint of the respect of the players,” Watson said of Floyd, “because he’s been there. He’ll have stories to share, and he’ll have an understanding of what the pressure is like. He’ll be able to relate to the players and be there for them.”