PINEHURST, N.C. – Any talk of a Bubba Slam likely was dismissed Thursday when Masters champion Bubba Watson stumbled to a one-birdie 76 at the U.S. Open.
“It’s a tough golf course,” he said afterward. “The golf course is better than me right now.”
That seemed to be the mindset that Watson took on Tuesday, however, when he conceded that it would be very difficult for him to contend this week at restored Pinehurst No. 2.
Watson said that his length – normally his biggest advantage – would actually force him to lay back off several tees, leaving him 200-plusyards into many of these domed, “unfriendly” greens. In the first round Watson pulled driver six times, but he hit only eight of 14 fairways. It was hard to make a score, he said, when playing from the sandy areas that border each fairway.
Perhaps already psyching himself out, Watson played his first 10 holes in 5 over par. Worse, he failed to take advantage of the two par 5s at Pinehurst, playing them in a combined 2 over. He bogeyed the last to sit 11 shots off the first-round lead.
“This week I’m just not very good,” he said.
Watson has now played eight U.S. Opens. He said he’s liked only half of them. You can probably guess where this one falls on the list.
“This happens to be one that doesn’t really fit my eye,” he said.