Watson added as Ryder Cup assistant captain

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Bubba Watson missed out on qualifying for the Ryder Cup, but he'll still play a role for the American side this week at Hazeltine.

U.S. captain Davis Love III announced Monday that Watson has been added as a fifth assistant captain, joining Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Tom Lehman.

Watson is ranked No. 7 in the world, and he finished ninth in the U.S. qualification race with the top eight players earning automatic spots. But the two-time major champ wasn't one of Love's first three picks earlier this month, and he missed out on his last chance to join the team as a player when Love selected Ryan Moore with his fourth and final pick Sunday.

"As our team has really bonded over the last couple months, Bubba has offered a couple times to be one of our assistant captains. I told him we have an extra red cart, and we'd love to have him," Love said Monday. "Our team is rounded out, both on the captains' side and the players' side. We're ready to go and excited to get to playing."

Watson had played on each of the last three Ryder Cup teams, and he won earlier this year at the Northern Trust Open. But Watson lost each of his three prior singles' matches, and his T-10 finish at the Tour Championship was his first top-10 on the PGA Tour since a runner-up result at Doral in March.

Love said Watson was disappointed to learn he wouldn't receive the final pick, but still expects Watson to add "a lot of fun and a different personality" along with "a great heart."

"I called him last night and told him I was going in a different direction, and he immediately said, 'I still want to be a part of this team if you'll have me.' Incredible gesture," Love said. "What Bubba did really shows how together the U.S. team really is. We're excited to have him."

Bubba is excited, too.