SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – You'd never know Bubba Watson had just lost the PGA Championship.
"I'm as happy as can be," Watson said. "I made the Ryder Cup, that's all I care about."
Watson was one of the more unlikely players to wind up in the playoff, beginning the day six shots off the lead. But he overpowered the back nine — and everyone in his way — with his booming tee shots. When Dustin Johnson missed a par putt on 18 that would have given him a victory — until the rules officials got involved, that is — Watson had a spot in the playoff.
He struck first with a massive drive to just short of the par-4 10th green and a pitch to 4 feet for birdie, and Kaymer responded with a birdie on 17.
When they got to 18, Watson imploded. He drove into the right rough and, instead of playing it safe from a tough lie 210 yards out, he went for the green.
And landed in the water.
"I was trying to win a golf tournament, trying to make a good score," Watson said. "Came up short."
He took his penalty drop, then flew the green into a bunker. His bunker shot hit the flag, and he tapped in for double bogey. Kaymer, meanwhile, two-putted from 15 feet for a bogey and the win.
"I went for the win. And I'd do it over again, just like I did earlier in the day," Watson said. "I went for the win on 17 and 18, and just hit bad shots."
Majors are what define the greatest of golfers, and some players never recover from finishing second.
When he said afterward that losing didn't matter because he'd made the Ryder Cup, he meant it. This, after all, is a guy who has learned the hard way over the last year that there are more important things than the game of golf.
His father is battling cancer and wife Angie had a scare of her own at Christmas. Doctors initially feared her enlarged pituitary gland was a tumor. A talk with his longtime caddie and friend Ted Scott reminded him that golf was supposed to be fun, a lesson Watson has taken to heart.
He blew off practice to go to a water park at the Travelers Championship, and wound up winning it, his first PGA Tour victory. He and good buddy Rickie Fowler tooled around on scooters this week with kids in the neighborhood where Watson was staying. They also made a run to a local ice cream store, Tweeting a picture of them and their cones.
"The win just showed me that we're onto something, the right thing," Watson said earlier this week. "Let's have fun with our lives and let's have fun with golf."
And few things will be more fun than the Ryder Cup, which will be played Oct. 1-3 at Celtic Manor in Wales. Watson wound up third in the eight-man standings for the automatic spots, behind Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan. Captain Corey Pavin will pick four more players next month.
Watson said he's dreamed about playing in the Ryder Cup for as long as he's been playing golf, and he'll do whatever Pavin asks of him.
"If he asks me to play every day, I'm going to play every day. If he tells me to sit out, I'm going to go cheer on the team and clap for everybody. Be at every group," Watson said. "I'm going to do everything possible to spur the team on and play well. I want to be there and I have a passion to play there.
"I might play terrible when I get there," he added. "But the one thing is, I'm never going to pout for being there, I'm never going to put my head down, because you are representing your country."