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Watson on the beat to find heart

When Tom Watson last captained a US Ryder Cup team in 1993, a Tweet generated little interest outside of the Ornithological Society and a Blog was still scribbled down on parchment with a quill.

Some 20 years on, amid a technological tsunami, Tweets and Blogs are par for the course for a skipper's role which is now all plugged-in and logged-on as information is spewed out to the masses like a geyser of online oil.

At the age of 64, Watson still has his finger on the various buttons and, as the countdown to September's match at Gleneagles continues, the decorated Kansas veteran is regularly taking to the internet to offer his thoughts on developments in the American camp.

With four majors, a series of WGC tournaments and a whole host of other big-money contests yet to be played, the qualifying scramble is still in its infancy but there have already been some eye-catching displays for Watson to mull over.

Having ended 2013 by beating Tiger Woods in a play-off to the World Challenge title in December, Zach Johnson began Ryder Cup year by winning the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii earlier this month. The 11-time PGA Tour champion has three cup campaigns on his cv already and the 2007 Masters winner is exactly the kind of man Watson wants in his line up.

"I've been actively watching the players and how they're playing and I've been impressed by a number of them, especially Zach Johnson," said Watson. "Zach's the kind of player who has a big heart. You can't underestimate the value of a big heart from a standpoint of winning and how that plays in a Ryder Cup. Heart is the No.1 quality I'm looking for in these players.

"It's too early to look at the standings and think 'this is the team that will be at Gleneagles', but there certainly are trends. And right now, the team is really shaping up similar to the one we had in 2012. Guys from that 2012 US team are playing well and getting significant points.

"Now that we're officially in the Ryder Cup year, the media will start talking a lot about it. I'll be out at the LA Open on February 11 to make an announcement of importance, so people can be on the lookout for that. While I'm out there, I'm going to make it a point to talk and watch the players, as I want to get to know them better. I'm going to do this consistently throughout the year."

When September comes, Watson will have turned 65 and will be the oldest captain in Ryder Cup history. Only time will tell if he goes down in history as a winning captain.

"To inspire is part of my job, but I know they'll be motivated."

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