Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Ryder Cup: Tom Watson wants end to captain's picks

By Ben Monro-Davies
September 24, 2013 -- Updated 1629 GMT (0029 HKT)
Just how important are captains in the Ryder Cup? Just how important are captains in the Ryder Cup?
HIDE CAPTION
Ryder Cup 2014: A tale of two captains
European hope
Golf legend
Medinah magic
Historic team
Captain's pair
Sweet victory
Turnberry classic
Cruel miss
Tactical switch
Home advantage
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson floats the idea of doing away with captain's picks
  • Watson and European captain Paul McGinley addressed the media a year before Gleneagles
  • Europe has won two straight and five of the last six Ryder Cups
  • But Watson was captain the last time the U.S. won on foreign soil in 1993

(CNN) -- It may be a year away, but the mind games have already begun in the Ryder Cup.

In a news conference at Gleneagles in Scotland -- next fall's venue for the biennial golf clash -- U.S. captain Tom Watson couldn't resist putting his European counterpart, Paul McGinley, on the spot.

In discussing how Ryder Cup teams should be selected, Watson suggested both sides should lose the right to pick some of the squad -- at the moment the majority qualify through prize money on their respective tours but the captain is allowed to choose a handful of golfers.

Read: A tale of two captains

"In my first three Ryder Cups everyone had to qualify," said Watson, a winner of eight majors. "Maybe that's the way it should go back to. I reduced my picks this year from four to three. I thought about two.

"Maybe we should go back to no picks. What do you think?" Watson asked McGinley in front of dozens of journalists.

McGinley: Ryder Cup role is an honor
Tom Watson named Ryder Cup captain
Europe's Medinah miracle

It was a mischievous question, since most believe such a system would favor the Americans because many of the European stars now ply their trade on the U.S. PGA Tour.

McGinley saw it coming.

"That would be tricky for us with so many of our players playing on the U.S. tour," he said. "Question deferred."

The exchange, carried out with big smiles, was in keeping with the way both captains say they want the sport's most prestigious team competition to be played.

"We know this is a partisan event, we are on away turf, and the European team is the favorite, but one thing Paul and I agreed on was the manner in which this tournament is played is paramount, " Watson said. "There's going to be an edge there, but the way we handle it is important .

"Bottom line, it requires respect. When you lose you respect the people who win, when you win you respect the people who lose."

One thing, though, neither captain wants is the tag of favorite.

Unfortunately for McGinley, he won't win that battle. The Europeans have won two straight and five of the last six Ryder Cups, including last year's 'Miracle in Medinah.'

Read: Another win for Europe

The U.S. led 10-6 heading into the final day, only to lose 14.5 to 13.5.

"The bookies will say we are favorites," McGinley said. "I've no reason to argue with the bookies.

Greatest sporting drama of all time?
Team Europe relishes Ryder Cup win
Politicians can learn from the Ryder Cup

"But the margin is so small. We are going to play incredibly well. The American team under Tom Watson is going to be a formidable package. It's a real heavyweight contest."

Watson eased the pressure on the road team.

"We have lost seven out of the last nine Ryder Cups," Watson said. "We have an away game. In traditional sport the home team has an advantage."

Watson's involvement as captain might, however, be a factor. He was a Ryder Cup stalwart and is 1-0 as captain, leading the U.S. to victory at the Belfry in England in 1993 -- the last time the U.S. won on foreign soil.

Watson also prospered in Britain, capturing five British Opens.

"I am very grateful for the opportunity to be captain in Scotland, a place that has been very special to me during my career," said Watson. "It's hard to believe that it was nearly 20 years ago that I enjoyed one of the most thrilling experiences in my career in being captain in 1993."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
Phil Mickelson of the United States talks during a press conference after the United States were defeated by Europe after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland.
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.
ADVERTISEMENT