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Tiger Woods to the fore in Tom Watson's list of Ryder picks

By Phil Casy

United States captain Tom Watson insists he can rely on Tiger Woods to tell him the truth about his fitness, but admits a European team "full of star power" will be favourites to retain the Ryder Cup.

Woods told Watson he wants to be chosen as a wild card for next month's contest at Gleneagles despite having played just four tournaments on his return to action following back surgery.

"I don't make this comment loosely. He is Tiger Woods and he brings a lot to the team, if he has the ability to play and he's healthy," Watson said.

"He brings a lot to the team and I'd be a fool not to consider him. He's been really good in the team room of late and he's a factor with the players. I know that for a fact. He's a very positive influence on the players."

Rory McIlroy's victories in the Open Championship and US PGA and Martin Kaymer's runaway win in the US Open means European players won three of the year's four majors for the first time ever.

European captain Paul McGinley can also call on the services of the world numbers three, four and five in Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose and Watson admitted he wished world number one McIlroy was on his side at Gleneagles next month.

"I like the way he plays," Watson added. "He reminds me of me, the way I play. He's ready to go. He plays his shot and takes the consequences. Finds it and hits it again.

"Right now, he's driving the ball better than anybody in the game. When you have confidence in the driver that he has right now, and you have the ability to hit the ball as far, the game is easy. And he knows it and everybody else knows it.

"I think the European team is the stronger of the teams right now on paper. Their team is full of star power, players that have been playing well.

"My hope is that these players on our team will start to show better form coming up."

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