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Tom Watson banking on his experience in Ryder Cup

Updated: Tuesday, 24 Sep 2013 11:27 | Comments

Tom Watson believes his age will be an asset at next year's Ryder Cup
Tom Watson believes his age will be an asset at next year's Ryder Cup

United States captain Tom Watson believes his age will be an asset rather than a liability in next year's Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

Europe have won seven of the last nine biennial contests, causing the PGA of America to ask Watson to reprise his role as captain at The Belfry in 1993, the last time the USA tasted success on European soil.

Watson will be 65 by the time of the matches at Gleneagles, which has led to fears that he will be out of touch with his players, but the five-time Open champion said: "I think some of the criticism of me is unfair, saying that I am old. That's just a fact.

"The other side of the coin is that I have been there before and the players know that I have been there before. Nothing has changed. In 1993 I said that I hoped I could bring some levity to it because the pressure is enormous; sometimes it's oppressive. You have to get that to subside in some way.

"Last year was great theatre even though we lost. We hope the theatre will be just as good next year but the outcome might be a little different."

Opposite number Paul McGinley is still competing against the players who will form his 12-man team next year and illustrated how that might be an advantage during a Q&A in Perth to mark one year to go until the event.

"At the start of the year the hot word on tour from the caddies was that Henrik Stenson was playing great, even though his performances were not quite showing that, and sure enough the caddies were proved to be right," the 46-year-old Dubliner said.

Stenson has won twice since the qualifying process for Gleneagles started, claiming the Deutsche Bank Championship and Tour Championship on Sunday to also secure the 10million dollar bonus for winning the FedEx Cup.

That has left the 37-year-old Swede top of the World Points List with 136 points, with Germany's Martin Kaymer - who ensured Europe retained the cup in last year's 'Miracle at Medinah' - securing his place on the 2012 team with just 172 points.

"Our points list is heavily weighted in favour of the world points list and Henrik has won twice in the FedEx Cup play-offs," McGinley added of a player who holed the winning putt in 2006 at the K Club - a fact often overlooked as Europe went on to claim a record-equalling nine-point victory.

"He is 85 per cent there already and we are only in October. You can safely say that everyone in this room would have a bet that he can get that extra 15 per cent."

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