HOYLAKE, England – Bubba Watson’s downward spiral began on the 11th hole Thursday, when he appeared to be distracted by something during his downswing.
Watson made a triple-bogey 7 on No. 11 when he fanned his short-iron approach into a greenside bunker, was forced to play backward and eventually three-putted from 15 feet.
On the telecast, a clearly perturbed Watson was overheard saying after his second shot, “There are a thousand people in the fairway. I just want to play golf. A thousand people are in this fairway.”
Afterward, Watson blamed only himself for the miscue.
“I just forgot what I was doing,” he said. “I asked my caddie about four times what the distance was and I never got comfortable over the shot. A lot of stuff was happening in the background. It was my fault. I just didn’t get comfortable over it.”
When asked to explain what he meant by “a lot of stuff,” Watson said, “There were about 40 people in our fairway, inside the ropes with cameramen, and some other people. It makes it tough for me, because I lose focus real fast. But there was no phone problem; there was no fan problem. It was just all on me. I didn’t stay focused, didn’t stay committed to what I was doing, and it cost me dearly.”
Watson’s opening 76 left him in a tie for 124th after the first round of the Open Championship.