Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has congratulated US golfing legend Tom Watson on his appointment as Team USA Ryder Cup captain in 2014 and assured him of a warm Scottish welcome when he visits Gleneagles for the 40th playing of the Ryder Cup matches in September 2014.
Watson has enjoyed huge success in Scotland during an illustrious career that has seen him win five Open Championships with no fewer than four of these taking place in the Home of Golf: Carnoustie (1975), Turnberry (1977), Muirfield (1980) and Royal Troon (1982). He also famously missed out on a sixth Claret Jug when he lost in a playoff in 2009 to Stewart Cink at Turnberry as a 59-year-old.
Add to that Watson’s three Senior Open Championship titles at Turnberry (2003), Royal Aberdeen (2005), Muirfield (2007) and it is clear the eight-time Major winner has a special affinity withScotland.
The First Minister said: “I am delighted to offer my congratulations to Tom Watson and the PGA of America on behalf of Scotland for his well-deserved appointment as US Ryder Cup Captain. I can think of no-one better to represent the US-team when the Ryder Cup returns to The Home of Golf in a little under two years time.
“Tom Watson is, in the truest sense of the word, a golfing legend and someone who will always hold a special place in the hearts of the Scottish golfing public. His incredible feats on Scottish soil are part of an illustrious golfing history in our country. From his ‘Duel in the Sun’ with Jack Nicklaus in 1977 at Turnberry to his agonising near-miss in the Open Championship at the same venue in 2009, Tom has always felt at home in Scotland and he will be welcomed back with open arms in September 2014.
“The memories of Medinah are still very much fresh in the mind butScotlandis already preparing for 2014 and the appointment of Tom asUScaptain will make this event even more special than it promises to be.”
Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourism agency, added: “In 2014 Scotland is preparing to welcome the world but now we are looking forward to welcoming one very special guest in particular.
“Tom Watson has long been adopted by Scottish golf fans as one of their own and although the matches on the course in 2014 will be hotly contested, Tom is assured of the warmest of welcomes by the Scottish public.
“He has been a terrific ambassador forScotlandas the undisputed Home of Golf over the years. Golf fans the world over have traveled to Scotland looking to emulate his legendary performances on our historic courses and his appointment as US captain is a terrific one not only for the US team and the PGA of America, but for Scotland as well.”
Ryder Cup www.rydercup.com/usa/