From Comcast SportsNetIn the two months since a stunning loss in the Ryder Cup, the PGA of America talked about doing things differently when selecting its next captain.Tom Watson certainly would break the mold.Golf Digest reported on its website Tuesday night that the PGA of America plans to pick Watson, celebrated worldwide as an eight-time major champion and revered in Scotland where he won four of his five British Open titles."We look forward to sharing the news of the 2014 Ryder Cup captain on Thursday," PGA spokesman Julius Mason said when asked for comment.The PGA of America spares no expense or amount of glitz when it comes to the Ryder Cup, and that much hasn't changed. Instead of a standard news conference, it will introduce its next captain Thursday morning during a segment on the "Today" show on NBC, the longtime broadcast partner at the Ryder Cup.Later, it will have a news conference in the Empire State Building.Watson will be 65 when the Ryder Cup is played at Gleneagles, Scotland, making him by oldest captain in U.S. history. Sam Snead was 57 when he was captain in 1969. Watson has not played a full PGA Tour schedule in 14 years, though he is still capable of showing the young kids a thing or two as one of the cleanest ball-strikers in history. Remember, it was only three years ago that Watson stood 8 feet away from capturing the British Open at Turnberry at age 59.Stranger still, he says he has not been to a Ryder Cup since he last was captain in 1993 at The Belfry, which also was the last time the Americans won in Europe. And his relationship with Tiger Woods is much like how the weather can be in Scotland in the early fall -- cold and damp.He would be the first repeat captain since Jack Nicklaus in 1987 on his home course of Muirfield Village.Watson said over the weekend at the Australian Open that it would be a "great honor if I got tapped on the shoulder," though he said he had not spoken to the PGA.The organization risks some fallout.By taking a veteran of Watson's age would be to overlook Larry Nelson for the second time. Nelson is a three-time major champion -- twice at the PGA Championship -- who did not take up golf seriously until he returned from the Vietnam War. He had 9-3-1 record in the Ryder Cup and won all five of his matches in 1979, beating Seve Ballesteros in four of those matches. At least two former captains lobbied the PGA on behalf of Nelson, who was in line to be a captain in the 1990s.Nelson is scheduled to play in the Father-Son Challenge pro-am Thursday and Friday in Orlando, Fla.For the last 30 years, it was easy to predict the next American captain. The PGA of America tended to choose a former major champion still moderately active on the PGA Tour, which keeps him in touch with the current players. That ordinarily would point toward former PGA champion David Toms, though there has been discussion among PGA officials over the last month that Toms could wait until 2016 without any future candidate, such as Jim Furyk or Phil Mickelson, losing his turn.PGA president Ted Bishop has said he wants only to win the Ryder Cup. Europe has captured the cup seven of the last nine times, the most recent loss one of the most painful. The Americans had a 10-6 advantage at Medinah only to lose on the final day when everything went right for Europe and just as much went wrong for the home team.Love had said he wouldn't change anything about the week except the outcome, though he did not want to return as captain -- at least not for 2014."I can guarantee you it won't be me," Love said about the next captain.Paul Azinger was captain of the only U.S. team to win the Ryder Cup in the last 13 years, using a unique system of "pods" in which players were broken into groups of four. There was talk that he should take the U.S. team over to Scotland, though Azinger said in a text message to The Associated Press he had not been in touch with the PGA of America.Watson told reporters in Australia he had not been back to the Ryder Cup since those 93 matches at The Belfry."I'd like to go back as captain," Watson said. "That would be cool."But it might not be ideal for America's most famous player -- Woods -- who has a frosty relationship with Watson, even though both are Stanford alumni. Watson was highly critical in the aftermath of Woods' personal life crisis, saying he needed to show more humility and fewer tantrums."I think he needs to clean up his act and show the respect for the game that other people before him have shown," Watson said in early 2010.The selection could have ramifications in Europe, too. Watson is so highly regarded in Scotland -- in all of Europe, for that matter -- that Europe might want to counter with a popular captain of its own. Darren Clarke, who won the British Open last year for his first major and is a man of the people, is under consideration with Paul McGinley. Europe is not expected to announce its captain until January at the earliest."Obviously if Tom does get it he is one of the legends of the game and I am sure he would be a fantastic captain not just to the team but to all aspects of the Ryder Cup," Clarke said Wednesday at the Australian PGA. "The man is a huge name in the world of golf and rightly so, I think he would make a fantastic captain for America."
If you haven't heard, the Bears are in the market for a quarterback.
It's no surprise that finding a long-term solution at the position will be at the top of GM Ryan Pace's to-do list as it's likely Jay Cutler has played his last game in a Bears uniform.
The Bears have a bevy options this offseason as they're saddled with the No. 3 selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and have over $54 million of salary cap space — before roster cuts and an added $8 million in roll over money.
Having the 3rd overall pick, the opportunity is going to present itself for the Bears to nab one of the draft's top quarterbacks or add to their young defensive core with a player like Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen (who ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has the Bears selecting in his latest mock draft) or LSU's Jamal Adams (Kiper Jr. also has him as a possibility for the Bears).
If quarterback is the choice, that's where the real debate begins.
The 2017 draft marks one of the rare years where there isn't a consensus No. 1 quarterback. The four signal-callers likely to hear there name called within the first two rounds are UNC's Mitch Trubisky, Clemson's Deshaun Watson, Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer and Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes.
Who comes off the board first? That may change 100 times between now and Thursday, April 27.
Despite only starting one year at Chapel Hill, Trubisky has the strongest case to be the first quarterback taken. Trubisky threw for 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns and added 308 yards on the ground and five rushing scores in his first full year as a starter in 2016.
If the Bears have their eyes set on Trubisky, they may have to pull off a trade as Kiper Jr. doesn't see the former Tar Heel lasting to the third pick. In his conference call on Thursday, Kiper Jr. said it's Trubisky's dream to play for his hometown Cleveland Browns, and sees him in play for both the Browns at No. 1 and the San Francisco 49ers at No. 2.
Would the Bears pull the trigger on Watson if Trubisky is off the board? Kiper Jr. believes Watson would be a stretch for the Bears at No. 3 and right now he sees Watson as a fit with the Buffalo Bills at No. 10. Kiper Jr. had a second-round grade on Watson before he shined on the big stage in the College Football Playoff. Watson's stock catapulted back into the first-round mix after he torched Alabama for 463 yards and four touchdowns en route to leading Clemson to a National Championship.
By selecting a defensive player at No. 3, the Bears could still have the opportunity to draft their quarterback of the future in the second round. Kiper Jr. believes both Mahomes and Kizer will be available on Day 2 where the Bears hold the 34th overall selection in the draft.
[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
What happens if the Bears don't come away with one of the draft's top quarterbacks? They could look toward free agency or the trade market.
The downfall of the free agent market is that the best available option is former Tampa Bay Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon — he hasn't started a game in almost three years. You can cross Kirk Cousins off the wish list because there's a better chance of Brett Favre coming out of retirement and leading the Browns to a Super Bowl in 2017 than the Washington Redskins letting Cousins walk in free agency. The Bears also could elect to bring back two of their own unrestricted free agents in Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, but neither would provide an ample long-term fixture at the position.
One of the most intriguing players available on the trade market is New England Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The connection between him and the Bears runs deep as Garoppolo starred at Rolling Meadows High School in the Chicagoland area and played his college football at Eastern Illinois — the same alma mater as Pace — before he was selected by the Patriots in the second-round of the 2014 NFL Draft. In limited snaps backing up future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, Garoppolo has shown potential to be an above-average NFL quarterback, but unless the Patriots step down from their rumored asking price of a 2017 first-round pick and more, trading away the No. 3 pick would be too high of a price for the Bears to pay.
The Bears could explore the possibility of trading for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to serve as a stopgap and help groom a young quarterback, but bringing in the veteran Romo — just four starts since 2014 due to various injuries — would be a lateral move, and the Bears would likely be better off keeping Cutler for another season.
With less than two months until the start of free agency on March 9, we'll finally get our first clue then as to which direction the Bears will go at quarterback this offseason.
Grab a pocket pack of tissues for this one.
Bears icon Charles Tillman released an emotional tell-all article on The Players' Tribune Thursday.
He starts off discussing how often he moved around as a kid with his dad in the Army and little things like learning cursive before delving into growing up in Germany and learning to communicate through sports.
It then moves on to the NFL Draft and coming up through the Bears with Lance Briggs, then jumping to the Super Bowl and what it was like to cover Calvin Johnson and Marvin Harrison.
Tillman even provides a fascinating take on how being a new dad affected his play on the field because he was so tired and stressed.
It was refreshing to hear a player talk like that. In everyday life, you hear all the time about first-time parents being exhausted and stressed, but now one of the most elite athletes in the world — whose job is exclusively in the public eye and his performance is dissected weekly by millions — is saying the same thing.
He discusses how he got past that stress and at this point, you're nearly halfway through the article and it's easy to think this is just like any other athlete's story.
But then Tillman gets serious and the story turns heart-wrenching.
The man affectionately known as "Peanut" takes us into the hospital room as he and his wife are told their young daughter, Tiana, may not make it through the night.
Tillman recounts the gripping tale behind how his family very nearly fell apart and how they climbed back to where they are today.
Give it a read. It's a fantastic snapshot into the career of one of the best Bears players ever, but also into the life of one of the truly great people to ever put on the orange and navy.