Watson calls Woods a lock for 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team

Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:02pm EST
 

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Newly-appointed U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson has been critical of Tiger Woods's behavior in the past, but on Thursday he said there is no one he wants more to be on his team.

Watson said he would use one of his captain's picks on Woods if the 14-times major champion failed to secure an automatic berth to the 12-man team for the biennial event through his PGA Tour results.

"He's the best player maybe in the history of the game. He brings a stature to the team unlike maybe any other player," Watson told a news conference after being named captain for the 2014 matches against Europe in Gleneagles, Scotland.

"If he's not on the team for any unforeseen reason, and I'm sure he will be, you can bet he'll be number one on my pick list."

Relations between the two were strained a few years ago in the aftermath of the startling revelations surrounding the breakdown of Woods's marriage.

In a January 2010 television interview, Watson described the player's numerous extramarital dalliances as "bad for our game" and "something he needs to get control of."

Watson also criticized Woods's on-course temper tantrums.

"His swearing and his club throwing ... should end. That's not part of what we want to project as far as the professional golf tour is concerned," Watson said at the time.   Continued...

 
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson poses for photographers on the observation deck of the Empire State building in New York, December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid