Watson says in-form Horschel did not deserve Ryder Cup nod

Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:33pm EDT
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(Reuters) - United States captain Tom Watson said on Wednesday he has no issue with the deadline for making wildcard picks even though his team at next week's Ryder Cup in Scotland will not include the game's hottest player.

Billy Horschel was runner-up in the second of four playoff events on the U.S. circuit a day before Watson made his wildcard picks and then went on to triumph at the next two tournaments to secure FedExCup honors and the $10 million jackpot.

But Watson, speaking on a conference call in his final interview before the U.S. team leaves for Gleneagles on Sunday, said Horschel simply did not do enough to warrant selection at the time the team was picked.

"He was on my radar early in the year," said Watson, who selected Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson as his three wild card picks. "I like his swing, like his fundamentals but he just didn't perform well enough to get on the team."

Watson says the timeframe for the picks, three weeks before the biennial event, represents a happy medium – late enough to identify in-form players but not so late as to be logistically unfeasible.

Horschel was ranked 69th entering the four-event playoff and his play in the season-ending Tour Championship was hugely impressive as he extended his run of scores in the sixties to 12, the longest on Tour, and outshot world number one Rory McIlroy in the final round to triumph.

The 27-year-old American said after his win that he still did not fee like he deserved to be on the Ryder Cup team. He also received a text message from Watson.

"Billy, you're a day late but not a dollar short," Watson quipped in the message.

Watson recalled that he had to make his two captain's picks six weeks ahead of the Ryder Cup when he previously was captain in 1993.   Continued...

Ryder Cup team U.S. captain Tom Watson gestures while announcing his three picks to add to this year's Ryder Cup squad during an event in New York September 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson