Watson cruises to three-shot win in Bahamas

By Doug FergusonDecember 7, 2015, 2:58 am

NASSAU, Bahamas – A few years after Bubba Watson made it onto the PGA Tour, he started waking up early to play practice rounds with Tiger Woods. He didn't ask a lot of questions of the world's No. 1 player who already had 14 majors when he was 32.

''I learn by watching and listening,'' Watson said. ''So I just watched. How would you not want to learn from the best player of our generation?''

Woods, the tournament host, was watching Sunday as Watson delivered a performance that looked familiar in its efficiency.

Staked to a two-shot lead going into the final round, Watson made four birdies in seven holes and was never seriously challenged. He sailed home to a 6-under 66 and a three-shot victory over Patrick Reed at Albany Golf Club in the Hero World Challenge.

Watson wasn't even planning to play this week. He turned down his invitation a few months ago because he didn't have a passport for his newly adopted daughter, Dakota. But when PGA champion Jason Day backed out to stay home with his newborn daughter, Watson's wife was able to expedite all the right documents for the family to come over to the Bahamas.

He left with a $1 million payoff and a firm grasp on No. 4 in the world the rest of the year.

''I guess I've got to thank Jason Day for backing out. I have to thank the U.S. government and passport office for getting Dakota a passport so we could be here,'' Watson said. ''For us, it's a good ride, a fun ride.''


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Even if it didn't feel easy to him, it sure looked that way.

Watson didn't make a bogey all weekend until the final hole, when he jokingly asked NBC field reporter Notah Begay how many shots he needed to win. He played it safe and made bogey, and all that cost him was the tournament record. Watson finished at 25-under 263, one shot from Jordan Spieth's record last year at Isleworth.

Reed also had a 66 to finish alone in second, moving him to No. 10 in the world for the first time. Rickie Fowler had a 64 to finish third.

Spieth tried to stay in range and was three shots behind until he missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole and never converted many chances after that. He ended his year with a 67, and walking up the 18th, he and caddie Michael Greller allowed for a quick reflection.

''Michael said, 'Hey, man, it's been an honor to be in the passenger seat, sitting shotgun for this ride. Thanks for everything,''' Spieth said. ''I obviously thanked him. It's been a team effort this year, just as we always stress. But yeah, there was certainly a sigh of relief.''

The Masters and U.S. Open champion strengthened his grip on No. 1 in the world, and headed off to a three-week vacation before going out to Maui for the first tournament of what figures to be a tough encore. First up: A trip to Augusta National this weekend to play with his father.

Watson's year is not finished. He was headed to New York on Sunday night to catch a flight to Asia for the Thailand Open.

The two-time Masters champion already had a two-week trip away from his family, and he didn't want to do that again. So when there was uncertainty about getting his daughter a passport for the Bahamas, he decided he would stay home this week and asked the tournament to let him know if anyone pulled out.

Day withdrew, Watson's wife spent eight hours in an Arizona office trying to get all the paperwork and they were on their way.

Watson seized control with seven birdies and an eagle on Saturday in ideal weather for a two-shot lead over Paul Casey, and he started fast with birdies on the second and third holes to keep his distance. No one got closer than two shots all day, and as Fowler made a move with a 30 on the front nine, Watson answered with two straight birdies to start the back nine, and then it was a matter of finishing.

Justin Rose, who lives at Albany and has lingered at the bottom of the leaderboard all week, set the course record with a 62.

For Watson, the next step is to be a more consistent winner. This was the ninth victory worldwide in his career, and the second straight year he has won multiple times.

''I want my name to be close to that leaderboard every tournament, every year, so people are always talking about Bubba Watson, about how consistent he is and good he is,'' Watson said. ''That's my whole focus right now, every year getting better and better.''

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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