Ryder Cup: Tom Watson reduces number of United States wildcard picks

The next tournament will be played at Gleneagles in 2014

United States Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson has reduced his number of wildcard picks for the 2014 tournament at Gleneagles from four to three.

The current system was introduced in 2008 to offer captains more flexibility when shaping their team, and it appeared to pay dividends as Paul Azinger’s team secured the US team’s only Ryder Cup win since 1999 in the same year.

However, subsequent US losses at Celtic Manor and Medinah have underlined Europe’s status as the dominating force in Ryder Cups, having won seven out of the last nine tournaments.

The move brings the US team’s selection process closer to that of their European counterparts. In 2008 Nick Faldo opted for two wildcard picks, Colin Montgomerie chose three in 2010 and Jose Maria Olazabal settled on two for his 2012 team.

However, Watson did not offer any detailed reasoning behind his decision to change the existing system.

"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," said the 63-year-old.

"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."

Watson revealed he had consulted other captains before making his decision, saying: "I ran it by three or four recent captains, we had long conversations about it and all of them said it was a good decision.”

"I talked with Paul (Azinger) and he was behind it 100 per cent. He had some good thoughts about how he comprised the team and what he did with the team to get them some ownership in the process," he added. 

The 2014 Ryder Cup will take place over the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles from September 26-28 2014.