sport

Watson wary of European courses

Tom Watson has already identified one big reason why the US Ryder Cup side he will lead again in 2014 could find it hard to regain the trophy.

Watson, at the record age of 65 and after a gap of 21 years, was yesterday put back in charge after the United States' run of seven defeats in the last nine matches.

The five-time Open champion will lead the United States out on the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles - only the second Scottish venue to host the contest, but a lay-out that has been staging European Tour events for the past 13 years.

"I think the Europeans have done a masterful job of creating an element of winning simply by using the venues that they use," said Watson.

"These players who play on the Ryder Cup teams have played in that tournament a number of times and playing in that tournament they have played that course under a variety of conditions.

"That gives them an advantage. The more you play a golf course the better you are at managing the course."

Europe won the 2010 match at Celtic Manor, where the Wales Open is held, and have also had success at The Belfry, The K Club and Valderrama.

Their only home defeat since 1981 was when Watson was in charge on The Belfry's third staging of the match in 1993.

Watson is hoping that Tiger Woods will be one the players under him - even though the only victory by the Americans since 1999 came on the one occasion Woods was not playing.

He did not even win a game at Medinah in September when Europe stormed to a staggering one-point victory from 10-4 down.

Watson has also been also heavily critical of Woods in the past for spitting and swearing, but said yesterday: "I hope Tiger is on my team.

"He's the best player maybe in the history of the game. He brings a stature to the team that is unlike any other player on the team.

"And if he's not on the team for any unforeseen reason - and I'm sure he will be - you can bet that he's going to be number one on my pick list.

"My relationship with Tiger is fine. Whatever has been said before is water under the bridge, no issue."

Woods, for his part, said in a statement: "I'd like to congratulate Tom Watson on his selection as Ryder Cup captain.

"I think he's a really good choice. Tom knows what it takes to win and that's our ultimate goal.

"I hope I have the privilege of joining him on the 2014 United States team."

Incredibly, Watson was approached by the PGA of America over a year ago about taking on the job again.

He will be eight years older than America's previous oldest captain Sam Snead and three years older than JH Taylor when he led Britain, as it was then, in 1933.