US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson has chosen Steve Stricker, a member of three Ryder Cup teams and five President Cups sides, as his third and final vice captain for the Gleneagles contest next month.
Stricker’s appointment sees the 47-year-old team up with Andy North and Raymond Floyd to make up Watson’s three assistants.
At age 64, North is great deal older than the players who will compete for US, as is Floyd aged 71. Steve Stricker on the other hand has played in ten PGA Tour events this year, and tees off in the PGA Championship today. Watson says his knowledge of the players will be invaluable.
"He brings a great deal of understanding of who these players are and their capabilities." - Tom Watson
“What Steve Stricker brings here is a great familiarity with the players who are on the tour right now,” said the eight-time major winner.
“He's played against them, played with them, has played with them on the Ryder Cup Team and the Presidents Cup teams. So he brings a great deal of understanding of who these players are and their capabilities. That's the bottom line.”
With three vice captains by his side Watson has confirmed that he has all the help he needs in that department, he joked.
“Yes, we had a budget for the team uniforms, you see, we had to kind of keep it down there.”
Stricker was delighted when Watson asked him to be part of US team, and he’s also sure the four-time Ryder Cup veteran will do a great job as captain.
"I know as players we all look up to Tom.” - Steve Stricker
“It's rewarding to get a call from Tom, and to be a part of Andy and Raymond,” said the 2008 Ryder Cup winner. “To be a part of the whole team is pretty special.”
“We're going over to Scotland and Tom is Mr Scotland himself,” he added. “He's one of them over there. So I think it was a great choice by Ted and the PGA, and I know as players we all look up to Tom.”
Steve Stricker’s on the plan…who will join him?
The PGA Championship is the last chance for players to play their way into the US Ryder Cup team. With Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson, and a few others capable of squeezing Zach Johnson out of ninth spot, Tom Watson believes there’s plenty of action still to come.
“A lot of things can happen,” said the captain. “You look at the list right now, you see Reed, Dufner, Johnson, Mickelson, Bradley, Todd, Moore, Kirk, they are all in the mix.
“Anybody that has a half-decent tournament, they can jump right up there, but you never know what's going to happen until the end of Sunday.”