WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Andy North needed as much time as it takes for a tap-in putt to accept an invitation to be a vice captain for U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson at next year’s matches.
The television analyst and two-time U.S. Open champion jumped at Watson’s invite over dinner earlier this year.
“I was absolutely giddy over the opportunity not only hopefully to have a role to get the Cup back but also to be able to help a dear friend,” North said during a conference call Wednesday at The Greenbrier Classic. “If I can take a little bit of the responsibility off of his shoulders and make it an easier week for him, that will be awesome for me.”
The Ryder Cup will be held in September 2014 in Gleneagles, Scotland. The Europeans have won seven of the past nine Ryder Cups, including the past two.
North won the 1978 and 1985 U.S. Opens and played on the U.S. Ryder Cup team that lost to Europe in 1985.
“When you win a couple of U.S. Opens, he knows what it takes to close the deal, and that’s what we need on the Ryder Cup team,” Watson said. “We need players who can close the deal.”
Now a golf analyst for ESPN, North believes being at PGA Tour events makes him qualified to help Watson make solid choices for the team.
A points system will determine the top nine spots on the team and Watson will make three captain’s picks.
“The one thing I do bring is a lot of experience of being around these players and hopefully I can help Tom get a good grasp on some of them,” North said.
“The most important thing for me is that if he asks me a question, I give him an honest answer immediately,” North said. “You don’t have time to sit down and go through 45 different scenarios of something if he needs an answer right away.”
We’re going to have to come up with some answers. That excites me. I can’t tell you how much fun this is going to be over the next 16 months.”