Watson wins second Travelers Championship

By Nick MentaJune 28, 2015, 9:07 pm

Bubba Watson shot a final-round 67 and made birdie on the second extra hole Sunday to defeat Paul Casey in a playoff and win his second Travelers Championship. Here's how things shook out on a soggy day at TPC River Highlands:

Leaderboard: Watson (-16), Casey (-16), Brian Harman (-15), Graham DaLaet (-14), Carl Pettersson (-13)

What it means: This is Watson's eighth career victory and second win at the Travelers, where he picked up his first PGA Tour title in 2010. One back to start the day, Watson opened with back-to-back birdies, made 10 straight pars, and then gave himself some breathing room with an eagle at the par-5 13th. Unfortunately, two poor drives down the stretch and his only bogey of the day, at the par-4 17th, left him at 16 under and in a tie with Casey. After halving the first extra hole with a par, Bubba flagged his approach on the second playoff hole and watched as Casey imploded before finally sinking the putt. Watson, who came out on top in another playoff at the HSBC Champions last fall, is one of four players to win multiple events on Tour this season, joining Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jimmy Walker. He is now also part of an impressive list of multi-time winners at the former Greater Hartford Open, joining Billy Casper, Arnold Palmer, Peter Jacobsen, Paul Azinger, Stewart Cink and Phil Mickelson.

Best of the rest: Casey turned in 3 under thanks to an eagle on the par-4 third and a birdie at the par-3 eighth. He looked as if he had cost himself the tournament with a bogey on 15, but circles on three of his last five holes and an up-and-down from the front bunker on 18 earned him a 5-under 65, the low round of the day, and got him into the clubhouse at 16 under. Another up-and-down on the first playoff hole extended the tournament, but Casey wouldn’t be so lucky on his third attempt at a par save from the sand on 18, blading his third shot on the second extra hole well over the green and up a hill. He would go on to chip back down, run his putt well past the hole and allow Bubba to end the proceedings.

Biggest disappointment: Harman started the day with a one-shot lead but got off to a slow start, with eight straight pars and a bogey on No. 9 to turn in 1 over. He remained there through 16 holes before closing birdie-birdie to post 1-under 69 and finish 15 under, one shot out of the playoff.

Shot of the day: Call it a tie between Bubba's fan-taunting wedge to 4 feet on No. 2 or his 208-yard iron over water from the fairway bunker on No. 13 that set up his 40-foot eagle putt.

Quote of the day: “I hung on, and that’s what you have to do sometimes to win.” - Watson

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”