Having played his final round in the PGA Championship, 64-year old Tom Watson now turns his full attention to his injury-dinged U.S. Ryder Cup team and determining which three players he will add to the nine who will automatically qualify Sunday evening when play ends at Valhalla.
Watson is looking for simple but substantial qualities.
“The main thing is right here,” Watson said, hitting his chest with his fist. “Who’s got the heart, who’s got the guts to make the 5-footer when the chips are down. That’s what I’m looking for. A lot of things go into that but the most important attribute of the player is how much heart he has.”
Watson said he likes the attitude of the players he’s gotten to know this year.
“There have been some surprises but they have been heartwarming surprises about attitude,” Watson said.
With Dustin Johnson off the team and Jason Dufner likely not to qualify and therefore not play due to disc issues in his neck, Watson has more to be concerned about than who’s not putting well. Tiger Woods’ status is a major issue and it didn’t help that Matt Kuchar withdrew from the PGA Championship due to back problems.
“We’re falling like flies right now,” Watson said.
There’s still time for players to get healthy and find the form that will convince Watson to include them in his three captain’s choices due Sept. 2. He’s not interested in anyone trying to talk their way onto the team.
“They’ll lobby their way onto the team if they’re playing really well. You can book that,” Watson said.