“A couple breaks went my way right there in the middle stretch of the back nine which kept me going,” Watson said. “All in all it was a great day.”
Watson has now shot par or better in each of his 31 competitive rounds at this event, and he is a combined 86 under par since 2007 – the best of any player across that span. He has three top-10 finishes to his credit in the Arizona desert, and he hasn’t finished outside the top 30 since 2010.
The highlight of Watson’s round came at No. 17, a downhill par-4 measuring 341 yards. Watson hit a low, cutting driver that landed just short of the green and bounded onto the putting surface, nearly rolling in the hole for an albatross. It settled 6 feet past, although Watson was unable to convert the putt for an eagle.
“I knew it was going to bounce towards the hole. It’s hard for me to see out there. I could hear the crowd,” he said. “I wish I would have made the putt. That would have been a lot better story.”
Watson said that he fed off the energy from the record crowds assembled at TPC Scottsdale, but made it clear that the frenzied atmosphere is not one he wants to endure on a weekly basis.
“That’s like asking if we want to play the U.S. Open every week. You don’t want to. I mean, you will, but you don’t want to,” he said. “I think it would lose its luster. Everybody would get tired of it, the media would get tired of it, the golfers. The fans would get tired of it. They’d be passed out too much. They’d get tired of it, too.”