Watson bucks system with Ryder Cup changes

He’s gearing up to serve as the oldest Ryder Cup captain in history – and no-one has ever been as devoted to the game’s traditions as much as Tom Watson.

Now the eight-time major champion has refused to buckle to suggestions he should leave the number of captain’s picks at four for the 2014 matches.

Tom Watson Tom Watson

Instead Watson wants to rely on the stellar play of his contenders and will have just three wildcard picks in his squad when the Americans cross the Atlantic to play the 2014 matches at Gleneagles in Scotland from September 26-28.

Watson, 63, said he had talked it over with several recent captains about changing his number of picks, before settling for three.

“There’s not a lot of method in my madness,” Watson said.

“I truly think the players themselves ought to have another shot at getting on the team because of their play.”

First points for the US squad begin adding up at next month’s US Masters at Augusta and will be awarded for the major championships this year.

It was the 2008 US captain Paul Azinger, who successfully lobbied to double the captain’s number of picks from two to four prior to contesting the Cup at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

It paid off as Team USA went on to win 16½-11½, ending a streak of three successive victories for Team Europe.

Since then Corey Pavin in 2010 (when Europe won 14½-13½) and Davis Love III in 2012 (Europe 14½-13½) have followed suit with four picks each.