U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson Is Less Recognizable Than You’d Think

Only six out of 25 New Yorkers polled could identify Tom Watson from this photo.
AP/ John Locher

With wins in three different decades on four different continents, Tom Watson has one of the most recognizable faces in the golf world. That is, he’d be recognizable to golf fans, but how much to everyone else? Are you sure he isn’t the new CEO of Sony? Times Square can’t seem to tell the difference.

Twenty-five people in the popular New York City area were shown Watson’s mug and asked, “Who is this man?” Little did we know how mysterious his mug really was. The majority (eight) said they have no idea and couldn’t even guess. Only once they were given multiple-choice answers — like NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or the new CEO of Sony or the leader of the Scottish independence movement — were most able to fathom a guess. Even then, those guesses were no good.

Only six of the 25 participants knew (or guessed correctly) that the man was indeed Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson. “But that’s only because I’m a golfer,” one man said as he walked away briskly, almost ashamed to own some common golf knowledge.

The same number identified the photo as Goodell — possibly an indirect vote for Watson to take over as commissioner.

Three voters saw a little CEO in Watson’s eyes, thinking he was the CEO of Sony. Either that or he looked like a tech-savvy guy. He just might own a pair of Beats headphones. Who knows?

Lastly, two voters chose Watson as the leader of the Scottish independence movement. Watson may have won four British Opens in Scotland, but that was one fight he was never going to win.

Should Watson be more recognizable? Probably. After all, he is one of the most decorated golfers in the United States (and the world) over the past 40 years. Doesn’t matter. But they put him up in Studio 8H at 30 Rock and held a special televised show on his captain’s picks! Nope. Even mentioning the Ryder Cup doesn't help.

“I don’t even know what that is,” one voter said. Maybe that’s Watson’s problem.

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