Tony Jacklin: "I wouldn’t shirk Ryder Cup captaincy"

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Four-time skipper insists he still has what it takes to lead the European Team at the Ryder Cup

Tony Jacklin insists he still has what is takes to be a Ryder Cup captain and wouldn’t shirk the responsibility if asked to do it for a fifth time.

The two-time major winner, who lead Team Europe on four consecutive occasions between 1983 and 1989, played in the same era as current USA captain Tom Watson and is only six years older than his American counterpart.

“I know it’s something I could do,” the 70-year-old said.

“I wouldn’t shirk it. Obviously I’m watching golf all the time and I think I understand people. Really that is what it’s about – leading personalities and understanding personalities as much as anything else.”

But the former Open and US Open champion concedes there are plenty of players lining up ahead of him, ready to take the honour.

“There’s a lot more guys around now that are deserving of it,” Jacklin added. 

“Back in my day, even when I passed it on to Bernard Gallacher there was no obvious successor.

“Today there are a number of guys that will become Ryder Cup captains because of their contributions to the game. 

“Whether it is Miguel Angel Jimenez or Darren Clarke, there’s a bunch of guys stood in line.”

Ahead of the 2014 tournament at Gleneagles next month, Jacklin has America as favourites and believes Paul McGinley has a tough job on his hands.
When you’re on the 1st tee with the fairway lined six-deep each side and your name is announced – it’s an awesome experience" He thinks Tom Watson will not be afraid of upsetting his star names – a criticism levelled at Davis Love III following Team USA’s defeat at Medinah in 2012.

“Watson has captained before and knows what to expect,” Jacklin added. 

“He has that seniority and will get respect from his team.

“One of the difficulties when Davis Love III captained last time was he had all of these egos to try and deal with and for the most part – it seemed to me reading between the lines – he was trying to keep everybody sweet.

“Watson might be a bit more forthright in the way he uses some of the better players. If Tiger is in the team, for example, he might try and use him in a different way. 

“He won’t be afraid to speak out and I don’t think he cares what people think. He’s got one mission and that is to get the job done.”

Despite no Americans in the top five of the Official World Golf Rankings, Jacklin still has USA as favourites to clinch the Ryder Cup trophy in Perthshire.

“They’ve shown a lot of flair and talent this past 12 months or so with new blood coming in like Jordan Spieth. 

“You’ve got Bubba Watson with another Masters win under his belt. They’ve got some talented players.

“America is looking very strong right now, Watson must have a glint in his eye but Paul McGinley no push over and he’s very passionate about the Ryder Cup.

“He holed the winning putt at The Belfry and his his passion really shone through there.

“No one want to be losing captain only got to do it once you bet your life he’ll be giving it rock all – he won’t be leaving any stone unturned.

“The ace in the pack for the Europeans may be the weather.”

With the likes of Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson and possibly Stephen Gallacher making their Ryder Cup debuts on the PGA Centenary course, Jacklin has some very simple advice for the European rookies.

“You can say what you want to the debutants but when the day of the races arrives and you’re stood on that first tee with the fairway lined six-deep each side and your name is announced it’s an awesome experience. I’d say: ‘Breathe, breathe, breathe!’”

Tony Jacklin CBE was speaking to NCG as a special guest at the OnlineGolf.co.uk Golf Day, authorised retailer of all major golf brands including TaylorMade and Lyle & Scott

For more on the 2014 Ryder Cup CLICK HERE

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