As the captain of the United States Ryder Cup team, Tom Watson has earned the right to choose some of the individuals that will participate in the tournament and designate them captain’s picks. For the last three events, the United States team has been made up of eight automatic spots and four captains’ picks. That is changing for 2014. Watson has decided that nine of the spots will be automatic qualifiers and only three of the picks will be left up to the captain.
“There’s not a lot of method to my madness,” Watson said. “I truly think the players themselves ought to have another shot of getting on the team with merit.”
It’s fitting that Watson decided to change things up a bit, as his selection as captain was considered quite a significant departure from previous choices for captain. The PGA has generally chosen major championship winners that are still active on the tour to head up the Ryder Cup team. Simply because Watson is a little long in the tooth doesn’t mean that he isn’t qualified to oversee the United States team.
Watson has a plethora of experience in the Ryder Cup. He captained the squad in 1993, which was the last time an American team won in Europe. He also played in 1977, 1981, 1983 and 1989, so he is intimately familiar with the event.
I personally like this move. There are always going to be one or two people who feel slighted because they are just outside of the rankings and did not make the team. That would be the case if there were 100 spots, since the 101st ranked player would be left out. It’s Watson’s job to field the best, most competitive team possible. And this is the best way he feels he can go about doing so.