Watson, caddie make light of disagreement

By Jason SobelJuly 3, 2013, 8:48 pm

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. – Bubba Watson stood on the teebox at the par-3 15th hole during Wednesday’s pro-am for The Greenbrier Classic and asked caddie Ted Scott for a yardage.

“I’ve got 218,” Scott informed him.

“Can I trust that, Teddy?” Watson asked in a serious tone.

He then turned toward a few reporters and offered a smirk and a wink, Watson’s unspoken acknowledgment that he understands the maelstrom caused by his harsh words toward the caddie two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship, all of them captured on camera and audible through microphones.

With Watson holding a one-stroke lead on the par-3 16th hole, Scott called for his player to hit a 9-iron, which wound up in the water hazard short of the green. Watson scolded the caddie for his decision, a move that was largely viewed publicly as a player failing to shoulder the blame for an errant shot.

Watson and Scott, though, never saw it that way.

“In that heat of the moment, I might have gotten a little upset, but Teddy knows I love him,” said the 2012 Masters champion. “I have no disrespect toward him. It was a heat-of-the-moment thing.

“It’s funny, when we got to 17 tee, Teddy was like, ‘I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.’ I was like, ‘Teddy, we can still birdie the last two holes and win this thing.’ … I was still in the moment, I was still trying to win the tournament and Teddy was a little shaken up, but that’s one of those things. We’re going to have good moments and bad moments. That one [was] a bad moment.”

“I wasn’t devastated because of anything that he said,” Scott added. “It was because he hit a perfect shot. I wanted him to hit a 9-iron and he hit it just like I wanted him to. For me, I felt like I ruined the tournament by getting him to hit a 9-iron. When he said I was disappointed on 17 tee, it wasn’t because of anything he said. It was because I chose a club that went in the water.”

Both maintained they were surprised at the traction this story gained in the hours and days following the final round.

“In that situation, it would be like LeBron James missing two free throws to win the championship,” compared Watson, who finished in fourth place. “He’s not going to be like, ‘Man, I can’t wait till next year.’ He’s going to be upset. I was upset, but if you talk to Teddy, I didn’t yell at Teddy. I said, ‘That club? That club.’ And then I yelled at myself for picking that club and staying with that club. We can always second-guess ourselves after the fact, but if I make par on that hole and win, nobody cares.”

While Watson spoke with reporters Wednesday, the caddie playfully intervened.

“What is this thing?” Scott asked incredulously while holding a yardage book.

“That is a yardage book, sir. You add numbers with that,” Watson replied. He then turned to a reporter and deadpanned, “We’re still working on his adding. His adding isn’t very good.”

So much for any lasting tension.

As for any long-term instability in their relationship, Watson and Scott confidently quashed that notion.

“We’re past it,” Watson said. “Me and him were laughing about all the bad press we were getting. Well, not we. Me. It’s one of those things where some people are going to like you and some people are going to hate you. I’ve just got to keep going.”

“We’re going to make mistakes,” added Scott. “I’ve done things to him that he doesn’t like; he does things to me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like him. Just like any other family member. If you can’t treat your family bad, who can you treat bad?”

In fact, Scott believes that the situation wasn’t even all that unusual – other than the fact it was caught by cameras.

“The weirdest thing about it is that when you go back and look at it, it really wasn’t bad at all,” he said. “You see a lot worse out here. There are guys that go through it on every shot. He hardly ever says anything to me. It’s only every now and then. Unfortunately, it was caught on TV and the announcers made it a bigger deal.”

This week, Watson and Scott are together again. Still working as part of the same team. Still friends.

It’s been nearly eight years that they’ve been working together and it’s a relationship that has undergone some pretty major highs and lows.

Neither of them sees that changing anytime soon, although Watson acknowledged that if it does, it won’t be from his decision.

“Teddy loves me – and if he doesn’t, then he can quit anytime he wants,” he said. “So obviously I’m a good boss. … Obviously he likes me a little bit.”

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.