Watson to play Travelers between PGA, Olympics


A busy summer schedule just got even more hectic for Bubba Watson.

Tournament officials at the Travelers Championship announced Wednesday that Watson will return to TPC River Highlands to defend the title he won last year in a playoff over Paul Casey. While the event is typically played in late June, it was bumped to early August this year as part of the scheduling shuffle to accomodate the Rio Olympics.

The new tournament dates, Aug. 4-7, fall right in between the PGA Championship at Baltusrol and the men's tournament in Rio. Watson is currently second behind Jordan Spieth among the four U.S. golfers currently projected to qualify for the Olympics.

While several big names have withdrawn from Olympic consideration in recent days, the 37-year-old Watson has stated previously that making the team - and playing in Brazil - would be an opportunity he would cherish.

"I want to make the Olympic team," Watson said at the Tour Championship in September. "I want to represent my country, and this is probably my only year to have that shot because I'm getting older. Four years is a long time for me to prepare later, so this is a good shot for me to make it. It would be an honor and a thrill just to put the USA flag around me and represent my country."

Watson's title defense at the Travelers would preclude him from attending the Aug. 5 opening ceremony in Brazil, which are slated for the same day as the second round at TPC River Highlands. His commitment also comes on the heels of his pledge to play at The Greenbrier Classic in July, where he and his family have a home.

It all adds up to a torrid stretch of global golf for Watson, who will likely play five events in a six-week stretch in West Virginia (Greenbrier), Scotland (Open Championship), New Jersey (PGA Championship), Connecticut (Travelers Championship) and Brazil (Olympics). That haul would become six events in seven weeks should Watson tee it up at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, held the week before Greenbrier and an event where Watson finished second last year.