It will be the second Ryder Cup captaincy for Watson, 63. He helped the United States to a 15-13 Ryder Cup win in 1993 in England. The U.S. team hasn't won on a foreign course since.
The next Ryder Cup competition is to be played Sept. 26-28, 2014, at Gleneagles, Scotland. It will mark the first Ryder Cup played in Scotland since 1973.
Watson was 10-4-1 in his Ryder Cup playing career, a .700 winning percentage that is second best all-time to Arnold Palmer (22-8-2). Watson was on three Ryder Cup winning teams.
Team Europe mounted a record-tying comeback on the final day of the 2012 Ryder Cup for a 14.5-13.5 victory.
"I was waiting for about 20 years to get the call. I loved it the first time. It's a great honor to be able to do it again," Watson said Thursday on "The Today Show."
"This time we need 14.5 points. ... I just hope to set the table for the group of guys. I'm the stage manager. In two years, I hope to get it done."