|By RANDALL MELL|
Guys named Bubba don’t lay up with a chance to win on the back nine of the final round. Ever.
If your name’s Channing or Preston or Carlyle, maybe you lay up, but not if you’re named Bubba.
As penalty for the lay up, Bubba should be referred to by his given name, Gerry, for his next 10 starts.
Bubba Watson’s lay up at the 14th hole in the final round of the Bob Hope Classic didn’t get as much attention as Tim Clark’s lay up at the 72nd hole there or Michael Sim’s lay up at the 72nd hole at the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday, but it was the most perplexing.
Watson, after all, was the longest hitter on the PGA Tour three of the last four seasons. He hit a strong drive that left him 231 yards to the front of the 14th green. He was playing alongside Bill Haas, who would go on to win the tournament. One shot behind Haas, Watson had to have emboldened Haas, a shorter hitter. Watson, who failed to make birdie after laying up, ended up losing by a shot. He gets the most grief because he seemed to defy his nature most by laying up.
|By JAY COFFIN|
It’s not Bubba Watson because, although his distance was in his wheelhouse, his lay-up was five holes from the end of the tournament. Michael Sim had 246 yards, which is the farthest he can hit a 3-wood. He made the percentage play. Tim Clark was sitting 224 yards away from victory and had no excuse for not going for glory.
Clark has been knocking on the door several times and has been labeled the “Best Player on Tour Without a Victory” for the past few years. He had the perfect opportunity to shed that moniker and he didn’t seize it.
Two-hundred twenty-four yards just is not a long distance to negotiate on Tour any longer. Sure, the green was guarded by water short and left, but with the front-left hole location there were numerous options to find land, then get the ball down in two shots for what would’ve ultimately landed Clark in a playoff.
Look, Clark was in a no-win situation. If he’d have gone for it and dumped it in the drink, people would’ve said he was nuts for not playing to his strengths, which is his short game. Still, going for it from 224 shouldn’t have been a difficult task, even with a maiden Tour victory on the line.
Who deserves the most grief for laying up with a chance to win in the final round the last two weeks? Michael Sim (No. 18) at the Farmers Insurance Open or Tim Clark (No. 18) and Bubba Watson (No. 14) at the Bob Hope Classic? In this edition of Punch Shots, GolfChannel.com senior writer Randall Mell and editorial director Jay Coffin weigh in with their opinions.