Watson cards disappointing 78 on Day 1

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SAN FRANCISCO – Bubba Watson’s first round as a major champion wasn’t nearly as memorable as his last round in a major championship.

The Masters champion sprayed it all over The Olympic Club Thursday while playing in a high-profile grouping with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and ended up shooting 8-over 78. He’ll have to rally Friday just to play the weekend.

Even though many believed Watson would be a favorite here this week because of his ability to work the ball, the round doesn’t come as a complete surprise since earlier in the week Watson made it seem like this isn’t a track that fits his eye.

It still was a round that could be described as typical Bubba. He hit his pink driver off the deck on the par-5, 670-yard 16th hole, aimed right and ended left and played with the reckless abandon we’ve come to expect. But his short game was not crisp and it caused him many unforced errors that resulted in a card marred with seven bogeys, a double bogey and a lone birdie.

“I was a little off here and there,” Watson said. “Even with a birdie, I just couldn’t get anything going. Never got any rhythm.

“That golf course is too tough for me. It’s a lot better than I am.”