Apr 10, 2014; Augusta, GA, USA; Tom Watson hits out of a bunker on the 7th hole during the first round of the 2014 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Watson Talks Ryder Cup Prior to Greenbrier


In a mere 82 days, United States captain Tom Watson and the rest of Team USA will head to Edinburgh, Scotland to contest the European squad in the 40th playing of the Ryder Cup.

 

Watson, who is teeing it up himself this week in White Sulphur Springs, WV. at the Greenbrier Classic touched on what he has been doing in preparation [Source: ASAP Sports Transcripts] for selecting his team and what he looks for when making the all important captains picks.

The now 64-year old joked with members of the media about how his club selections differ when it comes to playing with these “young guys”. Where these guys are hitting 7 and 8-irons into greens, Watson explained he is having to hit hybrids.

After the laughs subsided, Watson was asked what he thought of the list of players currently in the top nine that has a mix of would be first timers mixed in with old veterans of Ryder Cups.

Our team, the top nine, we’ve got three new bees in there.  We’ve got three players that haven’t played in the Ryder Cup in Jimmy Walker, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed in the top nine there.  But we’ve had some players who certainly had some great experience there, especially Jim Furyk.  He’s played in, I think 8 Ryder Cups.” 

“I think it’s eight he’s played in, Watson continued.  But he’s a stalwart and is playing well this year, so it’s always good when your team is playing well.  That’s all I ask, really is when September 26th starts that the players who are there are all playing at the top of their game or at least better than their average, and that makes it easy for me to make decisions of who plays with whom and it does.”

Watson was also asked about Reed and recent comments he had made stating he was on of the top-five players in the world. Did he like the confidence and what are his chances looking like as September 26th draws nearer.

 I like that as long as he backs it up.  I like that. Patrick is ninth right now, and, again, there are a lot of points left.  Patrick plays well, he’s on the team.  If he doesn’t play well, I’ll have to make him a captain’s pick if I deem that’s the right way to go.”

Of course as most stories have gone since returning to competition, Watson was asked on his speculation and position on Tiger Woods ability and probability of making the Ryder Cup team.

I’ll be watching Tiger as he plays.  He’ll be playing at the Open Championship.  Hope to get together with him there and tell him my feelings about him direct.  As I’ve said in front of the press, if he’s playing well and he’s healthy, he’s on the team.”

“Right now he’s way down the list as far as points, but who wouldn’t pick Tiger Woods to be on your Ryder Cup team?  That is the question to everybody.  Who wouldn’t pick him?”

Watson went on to clarify exactly how his decision would be made in regards to Woods being selected for the US team if he failed to qualify on points.

“He’ll be considered less of a pick then if he didn’t have a track record going into the Ryder Cup, Of course.  He’d be the first to tell you, I haven’t been playing.  Like I said, how he’s been playing and if he’s healthy, those are the two factors that I’ll weigh in choosing.  That’s just common sense in my opinion.”

With a little over two months remaining before the Ryder Cup begins on September 26th, Watson will clearly have some difficult decisions to make regarding his captains picks than I’m sure many would have thought.

Would Tiger Woods be a contributing player and factor by adding him to the U.S. roster?

Would it be in the best interest of the team for him to be a captains pick based solely on his name?

By his own admission, Watson disclosed that if he [Woods] was not playing up to his best he would not pick him with one of his captains picks.

I would hope that Watson would of course put the betterment of the team before anything when selecting players with his picks. Rather than relying on hope and a name to be the player they once were, rather than going with a hotter hand in the end.

If the Ryder Cup decision needed to be made tonight, would you select Tiger Woods to the US roster as of right now?

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Tags: 2014 Ryder Cup Tom Watson

  • Levoy Hemphill

    I would pick Tiger no matter what, if he is healthy. The last time he was a Captain’s pick Sticker or may have been Fuyrk noticed a flaw, corrected it, he went out and earned more points than anyone, also if memory serves me right he went on to reclaim World # 1 by the end January February time frame. To me his experience far out ways some youngster’s being higher in the points.

    • http://www.progolfnow.com Eddie Garrison

      That’s the problem though, Levoy … Will or IS he actually healthy? No one knows and if his form is not there … It would be a ratings pick and not for the betterment of the team.

      Why “waste” a spot with a player [Woods] that may not be able, physical or otherwise, to contribute to the US team? The issue back then was not physical after having back surgery though … It was due to a mechanical issue that is far easier to fix on the fly. Not so easy with a surgically repaired back.

      People also need to come to terms that Woods, Mickelson, Furyk, etc. are all going to stop playing at some point. They are not getting any younger or better to be honest with you. Sorry to say, but no better time to move forward than the present. If more “matured/experienced” players do not make it on points and Watson made them captain’s picks…I believe it is for ratings and not for the betterment of the team as a whole.

      • Levoy Hemphill

        But why are you trying so hard to put him out to pastor a good decade before most any other golfer has normally been. Furyrk and Phil are both well into their 40s, Tiger is, what, 38. Sounds more to me, you’d like to see Tiger forced to retire early rather than later. Just my guess, not trying to put words in your mouth unfairly, but it sounds to me you feel his earlier rather than later departure would be best for the game. That’s where we disagree. Feel free to correct me where I’m wrong, oh, how I do love a good debate. LOL.

        • http://www.progolfnow.com Eddie Garrison

          Quite the opposite actually. I merely state facts about all players. I did not say Mickelson “had” to be on the team, nor did I say Furyk “had” to be on the team. I actually said they all needed to show some sort of form prior to the PGA Championship or I would not waste a captains pick on any of them if needed other than the players making it on points.

          Facts are facts, nothing more. Tiger Woods did just have back surgery and has not shown form as of yet. Nothing about that is incorrect or self serving to myself. It’s just a fact and well documented.

          Phil Mickelson is currently No. 10 in the Ryder Cup rankings. Though he has not shown much form that if he does not make it on points, I feel comfortable he can generate points for the team. I again would not choose him as a captains pick if it came to that.

          Furyk is currently No. 6 and proving he belongs on the team based on performance. That, and that alone is all that matters to me. I would want players who are performing at the top of their game at the time prior to the Ryder Cup [PGA Championship is cut off for points], as their form is what their selection (if needed) should be based on.

          Also, I have never said in any of my articles, posts or comments Woods leaving golf is good for the game. Hardly … By your own admission in other posts you are only a Tiger Woods fan and that is your main reason for watching golf.

          I understand the draw Woods has to those that are not die hard golf fans. I do and it was and is great for the game in some ways, and not so much in others. Though that is a different debate all together.

          I do thank you for your comments and perspective, Levoy. Generates good banter and debates on subjects. Thank you!

          • Levoy Hemphill

            You do realize that if he goes and finishes in the hunt , he is probably on the team no matter what. Guess in the end Tiger going home and working on both his conditioning and ball striking on his home course and range in private rather than playing himself into shape where all can see is really the question of the hour.

            Thanks for the kind words, while yes am a Tiger fan, my dad when he was alive was an avid golf fan, I was more of a team sport guy growing up, played football, basketball, and baseball as a kid and young adult. But if I wanted to talk sports with him I had to either talk golf or about how his college was doing, so I learned golf from the newspapers and the early days of sportscenter. Barring a compiling story I would go play a round with the buds while we drank beer. Tiger just happened along and his highlight real early days is when I first started watching and it was the first Ryder CUP he was apart of that had the dramatic comeback that really drew me in to watch more than just the last round on Sundays with my dad.

          • http://www.progolfnow.com Eddie Garrison

            Awesome to hear that golf is what you and your father had together. I was a hockey player growing up though played football and basketball as most kids did.

            I agree that Woods best bet is most likely going to be getting back into shape/form on his own rather under the watchful eye of the media. Though competitive rounds are what he will need for points obviously.

            The Open Championship (to me) will be a good measuring stick on how he is progressing. I am not 100% sure on what his schedule will be prior if any events. Always draws the stories and interest as he should being one of the best to play the game.

            Very interesting this story after a surgery of this nature.