The Fight and Fun in Watson and Fowler

By Randall MellDecember 10, 2010, 2:49 am
NAPLES, Fla. – It’s unseasonably c-c-c-cold here.

With a heavy mist in the air and damp turf, the ball isn’t supposed to carry.

And yet Bubba Watson’s drive at the sixth hole at Tiburon Golf Club didn’t appear as if it was ever going to come back to earth in Thursday’s pro-am.

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson earned his first PGA Tour win this year at the Traveler's Championship. (Getty Images)
When Watson finally chased it down, the GPS in his cart looked like it had gone haywire.

“It measured the drive at 427 yards,” Watson said. “Actually, it was only 395 yards.”

Bubba loves showing off, and that’s what makes his pairing so much potential fun this week at the Shark Shootout. He’s got the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year as his teammate. Rickie Fowler can generate some pretty good clubhead speed himself, but it’s not power that these guys will delight in trying to one-up each other with all week. It’s their creative shot-making abilities.

For young guns in the bomb-and-gouge era, Watson and Fowler take great pride in their shot-shaping skills, their abilities to work balls like they’re still made of balata.

“In a way, our games are very similar,” Fowler said. “We like to have fun. We’re not just going to sit there and hit one stock shot after another.”

Draws, fades, high or low, they relish trying to work shots into tight spots or out of tight trouble. Watson said they’ve had some interesting practice rounds together this year. They met in the third round at Quail Hollow in May and hit it off again caddying for Drew Brees and Mark Wahlberg at the Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge in June.

“I show off,” Watson said of his many practice rounds with Fowler. “When I’m in the trees, I’ll go, 'Watch this, Rickie. I’m going to cut this shot out of here.’ And he’s like, 'There’s no way you can do that.’ So, it’s always, let’s drop a ball over here and try this. You’ve got to go over or under a tree. You’re always trying to pull off a shot you think can’t be done.”

Watson, 32, may be 11 years Fowler’s senior, but Watson remains a kid at heart. Watson loves video games, playing laser tag and miniature golf. So does Fowler.

Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell pledged they’ll have fun as teammates in the bar this week no matter what they shoot, but they’ll be hard pressed to have as much fun as Watson and Fowler, on or off the course.

“Rickie and I don’t drink,” Watson said. “We’re not about partying.”

But they do know how to have a good time.

The night before Watson broke through to win his first PGA Tour event at the Travelers Championship in June, he burned off nervous energy taking on Fowler in a game of laser tag.

At the John Deere Classic in July, Watson and his wife, Angie, took on Fowler and his girlfriend in miniature golf.

At the PGA Championship in August, Watson rented a house that was home to a family with a lot of young kids. There were scooters, skateboards and bikes in the garage. Watson invited Fowler over, where Watson said they ended up befriending a pack of neighborhood kids. They played football, basketball and rode Razors with the kids.

“Down the street a block, we fed the goats for 25 cents,” Watson said.

Watson likes the boldness in Fowler’s game.

“For Rickie to wear the bright clothes, the orange outfit on Sundays, that’s hard,” Watson said. “It puts a lot of pressure on him. He might not say it, people don’t like to talk about pressure, but it shows he can back it up.

“The one thing that is so good about Rickie is his mind. His physical game is so great, but his mind is the best part of his game. Just like at the Ryder Cup, when he was losing by three or four and he ended up halving the match. Shows that he has that fight in him. He’s a fighter all the way.”

The duo hopes the fight and the fun in their games wins them the Shark Shootout this week.

Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

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.

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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.