Bubbas Boo-Boo Spoils Solid Round

By Associated PressJune 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- This was one time Bubba Watson, the longest hitter on the PGA TOUR, should have kept his distance.
 
Watson, a consistent top-10 finisher but never a winner since a 2004 Hooters Tour event, led by one stroke at the U.S. Open on Saturday when he confronted the kind of shot that can lose a championship. Or, in his case, cause a temper to be lost.
 
Watson couldn't get the ball out from the thick rough on the left edge on the 477-yard, par-4 ninth and his pitch shot traveled only a few feet in the scruffy rough.
 
The pin remained a few dozen tempting feet away, so instead of calming down and preparing himself for another difficult pitch, he rushed up to the ball and hit a pop fly that carried across the green -- leaving him more than twice as far from the flag as he was to start with. Watson needed three to get down, giving him a triple bogey 7 on a hole he figured to bogey at worse.
 
'It was the same shot, it was just five feet closer to the green,' Watson said, denying he didn't take enough time. 'I knew exactly what I had -- a tough shot -- and it wasn't that I was impatient or anything, I went from tough to tougher, I guess. ... If you've had a hard shot before, it doesn't matter if you take your time or not.'
 
The blowup caused Watson to go from one up to two down and, given the 28-year-old's relative inexperience, could have caused his round to fall apart. It didn't. He steadied and had only one bogey on the back nine of his 4-over 74, which left him three behind leader Aaron Baddeley.
 
'It showed that I can do it,' Watson said. 'I hung in there. I've got 18 holes, and if I play some of the best golf I've ever played, I could be walking home with the trophy.'
 
By merely being in contention, one of the most chromatic PGA TOUR players has written an intriguing Sunday story line.
 
Watson doesn't have a swing coach, therapist, masseuse or sports psychologist. He learned the game mostly from a father who shoots in the 80s. Bubba is left-handed and father Gerry is right-handed, so Dad used a mirror to demonstrate technique.
 
Despite never winning on the developmental Nationwide Tour, Watson is making a steady living on the PGA TOUR with finishes of second, fourth, fifth and eighth this season and is 33rd on the money list.
 
He's an acknowledged good ol' boy, too, growing up in tiny Bagdad, Fla., population 1,490, near the Alabama border. He went to the same high school as Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum, and the USGA paired Watson and Weekley for the first two rounds at Oakmont.
 
Watson also adds color to a sport where personalities aren't always appreciated. He wears his BW initials on his belt buckle and averages 316 yards off the tee -- almost eight yards longer than anyone on tour -- using a driver with a pink shaft.
 
His reaction to those who make fun of his driver? Take yours and see if you can outdrive him.
 
Watson's personality and persistence gained Tiger Woods' attention, and the two sometimes share those 7 a.m. practice rounds that Woods prefers. Watson dares Woods to try to outdrive him but also picks the brain of golf's biggest star for tips.
 
'He's been nothing but nice to me. I don't know why,' Watson said. 'Who knows why? Maybe he feels sorry for me.'
 
Woods enjoys Watson's company and appreciates his ability, saying, 'He's got so much talent and if he would just understand how to play strategically ... '
 
Woods also constantly reminds him to be patient. For one hole Saturday, he probably didn't.
 
'One bad swing, that's all it takes,' Watson said. 'I swung as good as I can hit the ball, that's how good I hit it today. But I still had that one triple that derailed me a little bit.'
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Open
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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."