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Watson denies rift with Woods, plans sit-down

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Knowing he’ll need the world No. 1 onboard if the U.S. team is to win the Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time since 1993, Tom Watson said this week that he’s planning to have a “sit-down” with Tiger Woods.

Watson denied there is any rift between him and Woods, whom he sharply criticized in the wake of Woods’ scandal in fall 2009. A few months later, Watson reportedly said that Woods needed to “clean up his act on the course” and “get his personal life in order.”

“I haven’t really sat down with Tiger (since becoming captain),” Watson said, according to multiple published reports. “I had dinner with him at the U.S. Open this year but we only had a normal discussion as there were other people around. I haven’t sat with Tiger privately and I will have a sit-down conversation with him. I will need to do that with everybody.”

At Tuesday’s Year-To-Go Event at Gleneagles, Watson praised Woods and said he became “very much part of the team last time,” referring to the 2012 matches at Medinah.

“Tiger was very much a leader, and we need him to be,” Watson said.

That said, the 64-year-old remains perplexed how a player of Woods’ enormous talent can have a sub-.500 record (13-17-3) in the biennial event while being a part of only one winning team.

When pressed why he thinks Woods’ record is so poor, Watson said, according to the report, “Search me. It is an enigma to me. I don’t know. I guess all he can do is play better.”