Bubba not ready to be face of American golf

By Associated PressMay 17, 2011, 11:18 pm

PGA Tour (75x100)CROMWELL, Conn. – Bubba Watson is leading the FedEx Cup standings and has won three times on the PGA Tour in the last year.

But the long-hitting left-hander says he’s not ready to become the face of American golf.

Watson spoke Tuesday at the TPC River Highlands, the course where he won his first PGA Tour title last June. Since then, Watson has won twice more: at Torrey Pines in January, and at the Zurich Classic in April.

The 32-year-old Watson said while his golf game is “steam rolling in the right direction,” he doesn’t see himself following in the footsteps of Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods as the next great American golfer.

“I do have a pretty face,” he joked in an interview with The Associated Press. “But I hope the Tour is not going to bank on me being their poster child. I think it’s going to be harder to dominate, like we used to see, like Tiger has dominated for so many years. I think it’s going to be harder to have one guy stand out like that, because the talent is so much deeper in each tournament that it’s harder to dominate the whole world like that.”

Watson took some heat recently after being quoted as saying that Woods was “going the wrong way.” He said Tuesday that those remarks were taken out of context, and he believes Woods will come back strong from his injury.

“I’ve never dogged a man that’s better than me, that is the world’s best golfer,” he said. “I would never say I was better than that guy. He’s the best ever. Bubba Watson is never going to be considered the best ever, unless a miracle happens in a short period of time.”

But Watson’s game is on the upswing, nonetheless, and it began to take off after his win at the Travelers Championship last June.

His father was dying of cancer at the time, and he had received another scare, when doctors told his wife they thought she might have a brain tumor. It turned out to be a pituitary gland problem.

Perhaps those trials helped him mature as a man … and a golfer.

“The golf was a way for me to get away from all of that,” he said. “My wife could watch me play golf and not think about what was going on with her. When my name was up there close to that lead, they could watch that and not have to think about what was going on with them.”

Watson’s father died in October.

“It meant a lot that I could show my dad that his time, and energy, and sweat, and tears helping me grow up in this world, that he was a good dad and that what he did paid off in the end,” he said.

He will be back to defend his Travelers Championship June 23-26, after the U.S. Open. He would like to add a major championship to his resume soon, but said that is not his main goal. He simply wants to continue to improve, and would like to have at least 10 career wins before he retires.

Watson said he used to feel that golf owed him more, and became angry when he didn’t have the success he felt he deserved. He said still feels pressure, and still gets nervous, but now sees things in a more appropriate context.

“I guess,” he said, “you could say I’ve matured.”

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Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."