At this week’s Greenbrier Classic, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson announced he had named longtime friend and two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North as his first assistant for the 2014 biennial matches at Gleneagles.
Watson revealed he asked North a few months ago over dinner at his home in Kansas City, according to GolfChannel.com’s Jason Sobel:
“My friendship with Andy dates back to 1967,” Watson said. “Any time you have a friend, you can talk honestly to that friend about anything. Whatever conversations I have with Andy, I’ve always known that they’re private and they’re not going to go anywhere else. I really, truly value Andy’s observations.”
Watson will be trying to improve on the Americans’ dismal record against the Europeans in recent years, having lost seven of the last nine Ryder Cups.
“Andy knows what it takes to close the deal and that’s what we need on the Ryder Cup team,” said Watson, via Reuters. “We need players who can close the deal.
“We’ve been discussing the players already back and forth and the types of young players who might make the team, the types of players that actually I hope make the team.
“I’m certainly happy to have Andy on my side and in my ear helping me make the decisions that will bring this Cup back home from Europe this time. It’s been way too long.”
North, who has worked as an analyst for ESPN over the past two decades, is ecstatic for the opportunity.
“I was giddy, absolutely giddy over the opportunity to not only hopefully have a role to get the Cup back, but also to be able to help a dear friend,” said the 63-year-old North. “I’m looking forward to it.
“There’s a lot of excitement to the Ryder Cup, and it means an awful lot to me. I’ve been lucky enough to cover it for ESPN, and I get emotional covering it.
“It’s going to be a great experience, and the bottom line is we get a ‘W’ at the end of the week.”