Golf : Busy Bubba eyes Travelers title defense, then Rio – Metro US

Golf : Busy Bubba eyes Travelers title defense, then Rio

Golf : Busy Bubba eyes Travelers title defense, then Rio

(Reuters) – A hectic PGA Tour schedule has just become even busier for Bubba Watson but he would not have it any other way as he prepares for his title defense at this week’s Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Fresh from a tie for 60th at the PGA Championship on Sunday in the season’s final major, the American left-hander will bid to clinch a 10th career victory on the PGA Tour before he heads off to Rio de Janeiro to compete in the Summer Olympics.

After that, Watson will have the lucrative FedExCup playoffs to contend with before the Sept. 30-Oct. 2 Ryder Cup in Chaska, Minnesota, where he hopes to represent the United States for a fourth time.

“Tournaments ask us all the time to play their events no matter what tour it’s on all around the world, and you have to prepare for that,” Watson, 37, told reporters ahead of Thursday’s opening round at the TPC River Highlands.

“Every year it’s getting tougher and tougher because of the tour schedule. When they made that call … that the Olympics were going to happen, I started preparing for it. I don’t know about anybody else, but I started preparing for it.

“What an honor and what a thrill to play for your country in the Olympics. Just to be part of the Olympics. Who cares if I finish dead last? Just to be part of the Olympics is a big honor and thrill.”

As things stand, twice Masters champion Watson is one spot outside the top eight automatic qualifiers for the Ryder Cup, to be decided after The Barclays tournament ends on Aug. 28.

“My thoughts are play good here,” said Watson, before hinting that he might also compete in the Aug. 18-21 Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, to help boost his Ryder Cup bid.

“Normally I don’t play Wyndham to get ready for the playoffs but we (he and his management team) looked at trying to maybe play there if I don’t play as well as I want to here just so I can get more points.

“I don’t want to go off a (captain’s) pick. I’ll take a pick all day long, but it’s better to set yourself on that team than rely on a pick.”

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will add four wild card selections in September to complete his 12-man team to take on Europe.

Watson has fond memories of last year’s Travelers Championship where he beat England’s Paul Casey in a playoff to win the title for a second time.

“I wanted to win it outright,” Watson smiled “Playoffs are no fun. But it was good. To win any tournament, and win it again, is a big thrill, a big honor.”

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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