Watson taming Blue Monster at Doral

By Jay CoffinMarch 11, 2012, 12:41 am

DORAL, Fla. – A pink-driver hitting, long bombing, General Lee driving, Doral hating, swing-for-the-fences, shot-shaping, left-handed son of a gun is leading the WGC-Cadillac Championship for the second consecutive day.

The display has been equal parts breath of fresh air and train wreck waiting to happen.

Such is life when you’re Bubba Watson. You take the good with the bad. Attempt shots no one else would consider and deal with the consequences. The end result usually is either loads or birdies or loads of bogeys. Conservative course management be damned.

Watson followed a second-round 62 with a third-round 67 Saturday at TPC Blue Monster. He takes a three-shot lead into the final round and will be paired with Keegan Bradley, who is tied for second with Justin Rose.

Bubba is, well, Bubba. The name says it all. He’s from Bagdad, Fla., he’s never had a swing coach (never will), and his personality can make people laugh and rub them the wrong way all in the span of five minutes.

Yet Watson is one of the best players in the world. In seven years he’s recorded three PGA Tour victories and has qualified for U.S. Cup teams each of the last two years. So far this week he’s recorded two eagles, 20 birdies, seven bogeys and leads the field in driving, greens hit and putting.

Whatever he’s doing, it’s working.

“He is putting effort into every shot,” said Watson’s caddie, Ted Scott. “Five under is a good score no matter what position you’re in. I like what I see.”

Watson is Phil Mickelson, with more shots. Remember the Phil the Thrill many have loved over the past two decades? The one who goes for broke and doesn’t care much about the consequences. The one who has the nerve to hit 6-iron from the pine straw 205-yards onto the 13th green during the final round of the 2010Masters.

Mickelson gets credit for his creativity and his shot-making skills – which are legendary – because he’s seen as more of a thinker, an intellectual. Watson comes across as more of a scatterbrain, therefore doesn’t get the credit he deserves for pulling off some of the shots he does.

The approach on the feared 18th hole Saturday summed up Watson’s creativity best. With 162-yards to the hole he “just choked up and chipped a low bullet 7-iron, just trying to fly it to the front there and let it somehow stay on the green.” It ended 12 feet from the pin.

After driving the ball in the rough behind a tree Friday on the sixth hole, Watson aimed 40 yards right and sliced the ball so drastically that it ended 7 feet from the hole.

Now, Watson also skulled a wedge that flew the 16th green Saturday and hit a television tower. He also beaned a guy on the left side of the 12th fairway.

Seve Ballesteros would be proud.

“I like a challenge,” Watson said. “I’m stubborn. I like doing it myself. I love applauding myself. I just swing funny and somehow it works.”

Rose was paired with Watson for each of the first three days. He’s had a front-row seat to golf’s most fascinating rollercoaster.

“Some of the lines he takes off tees can suck you into a false sense of security,” Rose said. “He’s cutting off doglegs, and for me it’s not doable.

“He’s going after it and it’s fun to watch. Obviously he’s got great control out of Bermuda (grass), too, and he’s 60, 80 yards from the green, and he’s not scared to let it bounce two or three times and let it roll up to the green. He has great hands and can work the ball.”

Watson is also eccentric. This is the guy who said Friday, after shooting 62, that the golf course didn’t suit him. It’s the same guy who shot 58 in late December at the Estancia Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., and tweeted live, play-by-play action over the last few holes. He recently bought a modified orange 1969 Dodge Charger from a Barrett-Jackson auto auction that was used in the 1980s television show “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

None of that matters now, I suppose. He’s on the verge of winning the biggest PGA Tour prize in his career. Whatever happens Sunday – he's one for four with the 54-hole lead – you can bet that it’ll be dramatic one way or another.

According to caddie Scott, though, the plan is simple.

“Time to go out and try to play Bubba golf again,” he said.

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.