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

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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.