Golf: Watson trims Ryder captain's picks from four to three

US 2014 Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson said Wednesday that he would reduce the number of captain's picks from four to three, allowing one more golfer to play his way onto the American side.

The 12-man US side will attempt to win back the trophy next year at Gleneagles in Scotland in the biennial clash with Europe.

"Giving our players one more opportunity to earn a spot on merit, I believe, is the right thing to do," Watson said. "I will use all possible resources in choosing these three captain's choices to complete the best possible team in order to win the Cup back for the United States."

The Americans moved from two to four captain's choices in 2008 when Paul Azinger was captain. The move worked as the Americans won on home soil at Valhalla over a European squad captained by England's Nick Faldo.

Since then, US captains Corey Pavin and Davis Love have kept the four-picks system for US Ryder Cup sides only to come away empty-handed.

The Europeans have won five of the past six Ryder Cups, including last year at Medinah when the side captained by Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal rallied from a 10-6 deficit entering the singles to win by a point.

"I remember watching Medinah last year and I had an empty feeling in my gut for several days after the defeat of the US team," Watson said.

"What I am trying to do is just create the best possible scenario for the US team to win the Cup back and by going to three it allows the players to have a bit more ownership in making the team."

Watson's system means nine players will qualify based upon a points system that will run through August of next year, with Watson selecting three others to complete the lineup in early September, a few weeks before the matches.

While only a minor tweak for some, Watson called the move "essential."

"It is such an important event in golf for our American players that they at least need that one more opportunity to make the team," Watson said.

Watson recalled the sting of finishing just short of making a Ryder Cup team and wanted to reward effort rather than keep his options a bit more open.

"I remember as a player trying to make the team and we actually didn't have any picks when I was trying to make the team because if you finished 12th you were in and if you finished 13th your were out," said Watson.

"I was really disappointed in one year and that was 1985 when I finished 13th after making a bogey on the final hole of the PGA Championship, and I know how much I wanted to make the side, so the players should have that opportunity to make the team.

PGA of America president Ted Bishop welcomed the change.

"Tom is committed to do everything in his power to win the Ryder Cup," Bishop said. "His evaluation and research of the US qualifying system is just another example of his dedication to identify the best players for the 2014 US Ryder Cup team."