For more than 20 years, Andy North has been a golf analyst for ESPN, both in coverage of live events and on SportsCenter.
But for the past year, North has had some added responsibilities as vice-captain of the United States team that will compete against Europe in the 40th Ryder Cup Sept. 26-28 at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland.
His longtime friend, legendary golfer Tom Watson, is captain of the U.S. team, which is composed of 12 of the best from the PGA TOUR. The event is held every two years and Europe has held the Cup since 2010.
North was honored when Watson chose him as vice-captain.
“It was one of the greatest things that Tom could have done,” North said. “The hardest thing was that he asked me to do it in January  and didn’t announce it until July, so I had to sit on it for six months.
“It’s neat to get an opportunity to be involved in another team,” he said. “I was on the ’85 team [as a player, after winning his second U.S. Open] and didn’t play very well, and that was a group that lost for the first time in a long time. Hopefully, this time we’ll have some good, positive memories.”
The past year has meant more travel for North beyond his ESPN duties.
“It’s been exciting and an awful lot of fun,” he said. “I’ve probably gone to five or six more events than I normally would, just to try to get to know some of the younger guys and their caddies a little bit better, just to be around them.”
In addition to being involved with Watson in the process of selecting how the team members will be deployed in the matches, North also will observe at Gleneagles.
“Once the play is actually going on, it’s just a matter of reporting back to Tom on what you’re seeing of the players you’re watching and making sure if anybody needs anything, you’re there with it,” he said.
The team traveled to Scotland on a charter flight from Atlanta.
“It’s a nice way to get the week started, but once you get there, it’s a business trip,” North said. “This is going over there to try to get something accomplished and bring the Cup back. We’re excited to see what we can do.”