Watson: This is the greatest thing I've done in golf

United States vice captain Bubba Watson was overcome with the emotion of Ryder Cup success on Sunday, the two-time Masters champion hailing the experience as a career highlight.

Watson narrowly failed to qualify automatically for a playing role and was overlooked for a captain's pick by Davis Love III, despite finishing above wildcards JB Holmes, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Ryan Moore in the points standings.

To soften the blow, the 37-year-old, who was on the losing team in 2010, 2012 and 2014, was granted a support role by Love.

Watson was in floods of tears as the USA defeated Europe 17-11 at Hazeltine, winning the prestigious biennial competition for the first time since 2008.

And he even went so far as to rank his involvement in the dominant victory in Minnesota above the two green jackets he famously captured at Augusta in 2012 and 2014.

"The last event my dad saw me play was the Ryder Cup in 2010," he told NBC.

"Nine days after the Ryder Cup, my dad passed away. So the last time he watched me play golf was the Ryder Cup. He was at a hospital with a bunch of IVs in him to keep him breathing and going so he could watch his son. 

"And then the two greatest things that I've ever won or accomplished in golf are be a Hall of Famer and be a Ryder Cup captain. I believe that being a Ryder Cup captain is another form of Hall of Fame. 

"And so I told the guys last night, 'this is the greatest thing I've ever done in golf'.

"I love to help and I love to give. Finally I found my place on the team is to help. A couple of guys called me and said, 'Bubba, I need you by my side. Shoulder to shoulder'. And the last couple of days, that's what I did. 

"It was a dream come true for me. This is the greatest thing I've done in golf. And I'm so happy for this team. 

"This team was amazing and they took me with open arms and let me be a part of it. For USA, this is absolutely amazing. 

"This is the greatest thing I've ever done in my career and been a part of." 

Another high-profile assistant captain was more circumspect, with a reserved Tiger Woods relieved to have found himself on the winning team after losing six of seven appearances as a player between 1997 and 2012.

"Whether I was playing or not, I was part of a team," he said.

"Our team won. I take pride in the work I do out there. This is no exception. My role was to help the team as well as possible and I hope I've done that."

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