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Bernard Gallacher, Europe's captain when Tom Watson led the United States to victory at The Belfry in 1993, described the 63-year-old's recall for 2014 at Gleneagles on Wednesday as "good for the Ryder Cup".
"It is a surprise," Gallacher said. "The USPGA obviously decided they needed a bit of experience over in Scotland and Tom is probably the most respected figure in the game today.
"He's done the job before, he's been there as a player, he knows how to win in Europe and in Scotland as well.
"Also, Tom Watson will keep the Ryder Cup on the front page of the golfing press for the next couple of years. All in all, Tom Watson is going to be good for the Ryder Cup."
Four of Watson's five Open titles between 1975 and 1983 came north of the border.
"He's well liked there, so this is a very clever appointment in my opinion," Gallacher added.
"It looks like it will be a young, inexperienced team next time and they probably feel they need a very experienced leader.
"In recent years they have picked someone who is still playing on the main tour, but Tom Watson is still in touch with many of the top players. He still plays in our Open championship and the players will certainly know him."
As for his memories of 19 years ago, Gallacher, who was in charge for the second of three matches, added: "I didn't feel intimidated. He was very straightforward, uncomplicated.
"They played well. We were leading going into the singles, but his team came through - like the reverse to Medinah in a way.
"He said the right things. He has great experience in speaking to the media."
(China Daily 12/15/2012 page15)