Bubba Watson will be at Hazeltine after all.
Captain Davis Love III announced in an afternoon press conference at Hazeltine on Monday that Watson, who had been on the past three Ryder Cup teams, will be a vice captain this year. Love said Watson had offered to hold the role several times.
Watson was the highest ranked player not on the team, and he didn’t receive any of Love’s four captain’s picks. Love chose Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes and, on Sunday, Ryan Moore.
“It was obviously a very difficult decision,” Love said, adding that he chose Moore at the eleventh hour because he wanted a “hot” player. Moore lost the Tour Championship to Rory McIlroy in a playoff on Sunday.
Love said that after learning he had been passed over as a captain’s pick for the second time, Watson repeated his desire to serve as a vice captain, saying that he still wanted to be a part of the team. “It was an incredible gesture,” Love said. “We’re still in disbelief.” He praised Watson’s personality and heart as assets that he would bring to Team USA. “We’re thrilled to have him on the team,” Love said.
As a vice captain, Watson joins Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Tom Lehman and Jim Furyk to give the U.S. five assistants for Love.