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?