Tom Watson blunder gives Euros momentum


Paul McGinley said on separate occasions this morning – both on TV and on radio – that he wouldn’t be perfect at Gleneagles. “I will make mistakes,” he said. Turns out it wasn’t the Irishman who made the mistake. It was his counterpart, Tom Watson.

To some, the eight-time major winner looked decidedly uncomfortable in the press conference after the pairings announcement last night. And it wasn’t long before he made the US team room an uncomfortable place to be.

Especially if your name is either Patrick Reed or Jordan Spieth.

Two rookies, both in their 20s, both dubbed the future of American golf – and they dumped the European talisman, Ian Poulter, and home star Stephen Gallacher, in sensational fashion, 5&4 in the morning session.

Admittedly, the European duo did not play well, and Gallacher even admitted he took a while to get into his stride. But it was a thumping never the less.

Reed and Spieth, it has been reported, were looking forward to picking out another two European victims in the afternoon foursomes only to find that their captain didn’t have the same idea.

Momentum at the Ryder Cup is everything and, this evening, it’s with McGinley and his players.

He benched them. In doing so, Tom Watson lost the ‘M’ word. The word on everyone’s lips today. Momentum.

The US pair were said to be “upset” at being dropped in favour of giving the four rested players in the morning a shot in the afternoon.

That was Watson’s first mistake. His second was to admit last night that his four rested players for Friday morning would be playing in the afternoon. It must have been hard, then, for Reed and Spieth to walk off the 14th green this morning with the Poulter scalp in their back pockets thinking they’d done enough for a place in the afternoon, only to be sitting on a cart alongside Andy North.

Watson’s third mistake was playing Mickelson twice on the opening day. He’s now 44, hasn’t been in great form, and complained about being tired at Medinah. He didn’t play particularly well this morning and looked out of sorts. Butch Harmon, his coach, even said he “looks tired”. He probably knows more but it isn’t saying.

Momentum at the Ryder Cup is everything and, this evening, it’s with McGinley and his players, who fought brilliantly this afternoon to win the foursomes session, leaving no red on the board.

Watson will have an uneasy dinner this evening. I suspect he won’t be sitting next to a certain twosome in the Gleneagles Hotel.

You can guarantee who’s out first in the morning, though…

Tom Watson :: Did he blunder?

Do you agree with Bryce Ritchie that Tom Watson made a huge blunder by benching Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth this afternoon? Leave your thoughts in our ‘Comments’ section below.

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