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Tom Watson Now Not As Sure Tiger Is A Ryder Cup Lock

James Corrigan questioned Tom Watson's declaration last week that Tiger Woods would be on the Ryder Cup team no matter how few points he accrues in whatever starts he might make this year. Bob Harig wrote about the Watson guarantee here, which was lost in some of the pre-Masters hype.

So a nice catch by Corrigan who noticed Captain Watson softening this stance during a pre-RBC Heritage press conference where Watson is paired with Jordan Spieth Thursday.

From the transcript:

Q.  We can't stop thinking about the Ryder Cup.  If Tiger Woods only played in one more tournament the rest of the year, because of his injury, would you consider picking him?

TOM WATSON:  One more tournament?  I'm not going to answer that.  Tiger I hope just basically gets well and starts playing well again.  If he gets well and is playing well, I'll pick him.  But one more tournament, I don't know.  I can't answer that. 

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Reader Comments (25)

You can answer that, Tom. Ratings and profit are at stake and there could be another bonus, too. Having your name removed from the enemies list over the comment you made when the Swede was weilding a 9-iron like Mjolnir.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
LOL dmac: +1

Methinks it's more of a question of when Tiger can start to swing at more than 50% power.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
dmac +1 again, as we learned yesterday that some equate ratings with growing the game. So "for the good of the game" by gawd, Tiger has to be a Ryder Cup pick. It is Watson's responsibility to the worldwide future of golf,,,cue the inspirational background music.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterNo Longer
Pssst...Tom....I thought you weren't going to answer that.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatchy
I hope Tom has the cajones not to pick him if he isnt playing and playing well...its not like he has a great Ryder Cup record anyway
04.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
If he comes back by Bridgestone and the PGA and plays halfway decent, I'd say he is in, and probably rightfully so. It is likely that he won't get in the Fedex playoffs though unless he does really well at those 2 events, so it will be a reach.

There are going to be a bunch of young guys on the team, that to me somewhat justifies a Captains pick(s) on veterans to even out the team.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
I'm sure Watson is well aware that USA's only win in the last 15 years was the Azinger team in 2008 with No Tiger.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven
He should've simply said, "If Tiger is healthy and capable of playing, he will have a spot on my team, providing that he wants to play."

Because ultimately that's how this will go down. And it will go down this way because he doesn't want every blogger, writer or reporter asking him repeatedly over the next 18 months about why he decided to be the first American captain to snub the greatest player in modern times. That's a story with a million more legs than one with the familiar plot of Woods playing poorly in what will likely be another bloodbath courtesy of the Euros.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterPA PLAYA
the team wins more when he isn't on the team. He really isn't a team player!
04.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenter4x5 photo
A lock? He shouldn't even be considered. He is NOT a team player, and he has a lousy record in the Ryder Cup.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered Commentersfb5761
Let's not project delusions as the media does in promoting Woods. He's so far down the points that, at this moment, he has zero business on the Ryder Cup team other than for the illegitimate purpose of "made for TV ratings". Until he gets respectable in the Ryder Cup points rankings, Watson has no business picking him. The only reason it's a mental midgets and media driven topic is because of Woods federal classification and media ratings business purposes.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterChet
I surely don't think Watson should pick eldrick, unless to make him (eldrick) look bad on the course. Now that I would watch, to see eldrick lose again.

But don't bring a loser into the game.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterArcadian
Toms a pretty crusty fellow....he wants to win and if Woods isn't competitively decent he won't pick him.
I imagine he regrets that earlier statement but the surgery gives him the out he probably always wanted, considering their frosty history.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenterjjshaka
If Tiger is healthy Tom will pick him.
If Tiger is not up to it Tom won't pick him.
It's as simple as that.

Whether you are a Tiger hater or not.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
Phil has a crappy Ryder Cup record as well. Should Tom exclude him too? Does that make Phil not a team player? The analysis is too simplistic.

Personally I think Tiger is not going to be healthy enough to play and that will give Watson the out he needs.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterSari
@sfb5761.... In the last twenty years or so who on the USA Ryder Cup team that has played in more than one Ryder Cup have a winning record or even .500 record? Answer is not many if any at all.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterOWGR Fan
Clearly everyone on this thread knows more about what goes on behind the closed doors of the team locker rooms than the Players. Tiger is pretty good at team events (plural, more than one exists), and everyone who has played in the RC for the US lately has a poor record. But Tiger probably will not have played for a month when the RC comes around, and he probably wont play well if he plays before then, because he won't have had time to practice. My guess is Tiger and Tom will talk & if Tiger says he's feeling good he'll be on the team.

Interestingly Jack did not make the 1979 Ryder Cup team when he was 39. At that period in time their were no Captain's picks & he'd had a very ppor year.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Its pretty amazing Nicklaus didn't make the team in 1979. Not till the early 90's, after Wayne Levi won 4 times in 90 and then was MIA in 1991 manage to make the RC team, were revisions made where the most recent year was given more weight.

Nicklaus won 4 times in 1978. Inverrary, The Tournament Players Championship, The British Open, Phildadelphia.

I know Nicklaus was 2nd at both the LA Open and Doral also.

Mark Hayes winless in both those years, best finish a playoff loss to Lon Hinkle at Pebble Beach, somehow made the team.

I'm not sure, but points may not have started accumulating till somewhere mid season in 1978.

Don't forget players used to have to be full PGA members and have a high school diploma too. Ask Calvin Peete about the latter.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBill
The Ryder Cup is a Contest between the USA and Europe based on earned points to be on the team. Tiger the last I looked is 45th now ,but because he's not playing ,he's falling like a rock. Tom needs to consider the players who have worked and played all year to play for the team. Tiger is a great golfer,but what has he done lately
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDavid
Why not make him an assistant captain? He is good at driving around places with no fire hydrants.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterTim in NZ
@David, the Ryder Cup is a money-making exhibition and its organizers will do whatever is necessary to maximize profit.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
The is something much worse than a loss or low ratings or a Watson/woods feud should Tom not choose him................Golf Channel would go into a two month depression and I fear the carnage would rival Jonestown.
04.17.2014 | Unregistered Commenternospin
Sure, let's see the US team get pummeled again with Tiger onboard - who has not done much for the team anyway. No, seriously I think the US has a good chance this year even without Tiger. I just want golf drama which the Ryder Cup usually provides. Think about how much fun it was watching the Victor Duibusson/Jason Day match play this year. They may not be marquee names but it was great golf drama.
04.18.2014 | Unregistered CommenterApril
Mr. Watson should never have said that Tiger is an automatic pick in the first place. The Team should be merit based! Mr. Watson in my opinion should not be the captain. He did a very good job when he had the opportunity, but why deprive someone else that chance to Captain the US Team who is deserving? Larry Nelson's name should have been should have been considered,(2 time PGA Champion)
Johnie Miller could have been considered, Mark O'meara might have been a good choice. Heck Fred Couples has done an outstanding job as President's Cup Captain. But because Mr. Watson mentioned that he would like to be the Captain again, PGA of America gave it to him. What will happen if Arnie or Jack get misty eyed and say the would like to do it again, do you think the PGA of America will say no to them. Get over the fact that the US lost the last Cup, Davis Love III did nothing wrong! The Euros played inspired golf.
04.18.2014 | Unregistered CommenterAB
AB: Johnny Miller would be a totally inspired choice as captain.
04.18.2014 | Unregistered Commentersfb5761

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