Bubba Watson wants to be a member of next year’s Presidents Cup team. He’s just not sure he wants to be there as a player. An AP report from Doug Ferguson featured several quotes from Watson at last week’s Hero World Challenge indicating that the big-swinging left-hander may prefer a coach’s role rather than playing under captain Tiger Woods in 2019.
“I have been bugging Mr. Tiger Woods about being a vice captain for Australia,” Watson told the AP. “I would love the honor of doing that again. The reason why is I feel like I can service. For me personally, I have more enjoyment serving 12 guys than playing.”
Watson has a mixed track record in team match play competitions. He is 5-3-2 in Presidents Cup matches (0-1-1 in singles) as a member of the 2011 and 2015 teams. At the Ryder Cup, he has struggled to a 4-10 record that includes an 0-4-0 mark in singles. Watson sounded acutely aware of his past struggles.
“I always bug Tiger,” Watson said. “He says, ‘You need to be playing.’ I said, ‘Look, man, we’ve never won a Ryder Cup with me playing, but we’ve won when I wasn’t playing. So me and you need to be captain and vice captains.’ That’s our joke. I’ve told him, ‘Listen, I’ll do anything to help you if you want me. If you don’t, that’s fine.'”
Joking or not, there is precedent for Watson to serve as vice captain despite capable qualifications. In 2016, Captain Davis Love III passed over Watson as a player, even though he was No. 9 in the Ryder Cup standings at the time (and No. 7 in the world!). But Love brought Watson along as a vice captain, and the U.S. went on to win 17-11.
Watson’s latest comments are a slight departure from his pre-Ryder Cup attitude.
“In 2016, it was a dream for me to be able to help take care of 12 guys, plus the four assistants and captain. It was a dream come true. It was an honor and a privilege. But obviously, if you’re going to ask anybody, you’d rather be playing than working, and so I’m glad to be back,” he said in a pre-Cup press conference.
Watson, who won three times in 2018, is currently No. 12 in the Presidents Cup standings. The 2019 Presidents Cup will be held at Australia’s Royal Melbourne Golf Club.