Golf - Former Masters winner Watson lends a hand to U.S. Solheim Cup team


FILE PHOTO: Aug 12, 2021; Greensboro, North Carolina, USA; Bubba Watson watches his approach shot on the ninth hole during the first round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - As the United States put the finishing touches to preparations for this week's Solheim Cup, the American women have been enjoying a slew of advice from twice Masters champion Bubba Watson.

U.S. captain Pat Hurst, speaking to reporters on Wednesday ahead of Saturday's start at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, said Watson, a 12-times winner on the PGA Tour, reached out himself to offer his services.

"Bubba called a couple weeks ago wanting to be, just wanting to help women's golf out," said Hurst. "He's got a wife, he's got a daughter, and he loves golf and he loves, like I said, he just wants to support women's golf."

Watson, who will play in a celebrity match at Inverness Club on Thursday, brings a particular appreciation of the biennial team event between Europe and the United States given that he has competed in four Ryder Cups and was also named vice captain in 2018.

"He's been a lot of fun having him in the locker room hearing his take on a lot of the things, and a lot of times we have to tell him that, 'Hey, men and women are a little bit different' and I think he's definitely seeing that," said Hurst.

"But we're all enjoying him around, players, caddies. We're asking him a ton of questions and it looks like, it seems like he's having just as much fun as we are with him around."

Team USA's Angela Stanford said watching Watson, one of the game's great shot-shapers, discuss different ways to hit a chip shot with 2017 women's PGA Championship winner Danielle Kang this week was a memorable moment.

"He's available, and I think that's what makes it so special is you just have, you have a major champion, multiple major champion... walking around and being helpful," said Stanford.

"That was the cool part. I just kind of stood back and watched that and watched them interact and it was really cool."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Clare Fallon)

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