Watson to reduce wild cards to three

The American captain could have had four picks for Ryder Cup renewal next year

Tom Watson speaks during the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain's News Conference held at the Empire State Building . Photograph: Michael Cohen/Getty Images

Tom Watson speaks during the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain's News Conference held at the Empire State Building . Photograph: Michael Cohen/Getty Images

Wed, Mar 20, 2013, 13:28

United States Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson has reduced his number of wild card picks for next year’s contest at Gleneagles from four to three.

The 63-year-old took up the captaincy in December and has been charged with the task of building a team to try and wrestle the title away from Europe, who recorded an astonishing win at Medinah Country Club last year.

“There’s not a lot of method in my madness but I think the players ought to have another shot of getting on the team by merit,” Watson said in an interview shown on rydercup.com.

“I will use all possible resources in choosing these three captain’s choices to complete the best possible team in order to win the cup back for the United States.”

Paul Azinger was the first US captain to have four picks in 2008 and is also the last to taste success after his side won by five points at Valhalla.

Opposite number Nick Faldo had two wild cards — Ian Poulter and Paul Casey — while 2010 European captain Colin Montgomerie opted for three wild cards and 2012 captain Jose Maria Olazabal chose just two.

With Europe winning seven out of the last nine contests, 2014 captain Paul McGinley has stated he is likely to “tweak” the current selection process — which uses two wild cards in addition to 10 qualifiers — rather than make a radical change.

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