Watson says he'll pick Woods for Ryder Cup team if necessary


U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson says as long as Tiger Woods is healthy enough to play, he'll make him a captain's pick if Woods does not make this year's U.S. team on points.

“I’ve been asked a little bit about, ‘What if he doesn’t make the team?’” Watson said in an interview with GolfChannel.com's Joe Posnanski. “I’ll pick him for the team. I just hope he gets well and starts to play again without pain. That’s all that matters."

Woods, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, recently underwent surgery for a pinched nerve in his back. He will miss the Masters and hopes to return to the PGA Tour "sometime this summer." The U.S. and Europe will meet Sept. 23-28 in Perthshire, Scotland, for the 40th Ryder Cup Matches. Europe holds the cup as a result of its 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 win in 2012 at Medinah.

“Everybody’s been in pain before, every golfer," Watson said. "For some, it’s ended their careers. For others, they’ve beat it and corrected with surgery. Obviously I hope this is corrected with surgery. Obviously, I hope that he can recover and again swing the club without any pain." 

Watson, who has criticized Woods' on-course behavior in the past, indicated he no longer has a problem with Woods. “We all change,” he said.