It was all or nothing

Bubba Watson's gamble on the third playoff hole didn't work out the way he wanted, but the big lefty had no regrets. He was playing to win and, he said, his aggressiveness had propelled himself into the playoff in the first place.


Bubba Watson cheerfully hammered the ball all week and didn't worry about the ramifications. (Getty Images)

By Stan Awtrey, PGATOUR.COM Contributor

KOHLER, Wis. -- In gambling terminology, Bubba Watson didn't come all this way to break even.

That's why the left-hander from Bagdad, Fla., went for the kill shot on the third playoff hole at the PGA Championship. Watson's approach shot to the 18th hole came out heavy and landed in the water in front of the green, essentially killing his chances to win at Whistling Straits. But when the bell had sounded and Martin Kaymer was holding the Wanamaker Trophy, Watson had no second thoughts.

"Before you ask, if I had it to do over again, I would hit it every day," Watson said. "I play to win a golf tournament. I don't play to lay up and hopefully make a par and tie or win. I went for the win and I'd do it over again, just like I did earlier in the day."

Watson and Kaymer were tied going into the third hole of the aggregate playoff, Whistling Straits' difficult 500-yard 18th hole. Watson had birdied the first extra hole and Kaymer evened the match with a birdie on the second. Both hit their tee shots in the rough at No. 18, but Watson had to play first. He had 206 yards to the front of the green and pulled a 6-iron.

"I was hoping to catch a flyer with a 6-iron," he said. "I hit it as good as I could, just came out dead. Went into the water. I hit a good shot. It just didn't come out like I wanted it to and, then, I still had a chance to make bogey."

After taking his drop, Watson knocked his approach shot into a greenside bunker. Despite a tough lie, Watson nearly beat the odds by holing his sand shot. The ball hit the flagstick and rolled a couple feet away.

"If it would have went in, we'd still be out there playing," Watson said.

Watson used his length to overpower the course at times. For the week he was 9 under on the lengthy par 5s. He kept hammering the ball and not worrying about the ramifications.

"I just tried not to throw up on myself. I get nervous," he said. "The game is fun, but I want to win every week. I'm like Tiger; I come to a golf tournament to win. I just don't win as much as he does."

While Watson was disappointed to lose, he was ecstatic about making the U.S. Ryder Cup team for the first time.  He moved up the standings from 18th to third place, which gave him one of eight automatic spots awarded Sunday night. He is one of four Ryder Cup rookies who will compete against the European team in Wales in October.

"I made the Ryder Cup, so that's all I care about," Watson said.

Watson began the final round six shots behind leader Nick Watney. He began to peck his way up the scoreboard and got in the mix, at one time reaching 12 under par before a bogey at 17 pushed him to 11 under.

"You know, I wasn't on anybody's radar," he said "I just played solid, just put my head down and tried to play as good of golf as I could and try to grind out a good finish, if not a win. And then when it worked out that I made some birdies and made some good putts, and I got a chance to go in a playoff."