Watson, caddie make light of disagreement

By Jason SobelJuly 3, 2013, 8:48 pm

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. – Bubba Watson stood on the teebox at the par-3 15th hole during Wednesday’s pro-am for The Greenbrier Classic and asked caddie Ted Scott for a yardage.

“I’ve got 218,” Scott informed him.

“Can I trust that, Teddy?” Watson asked in a serious tone.

He then turned toward a few reporters and offered a smirk and a wink, Watson’s unspoken acknowledgment that he understands the maelstrom caused by his harsh words toward the caddie two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship, all of them captured on camera and audible through microphones.

With Watson holding a one-stroke lead on the par-3 16th hole, Scott called for his player to hit a 9-iron, which wound up in the water hazard short of the green. Watson scolded the caddie for his decision, a move that was largely viewed publicly as a player failing to shoulder the blame for an errant shot.

Watson and Scott, though, never saw it that way.

“In that heat of the moment, I might have gotten a little upset, but Teddy knows I love him,” said the 2012 Masters champion. “I have no disrespect toward him. It was a heat-of-the-moment thing.

“It’s funny, when we got to 17 tee, Teddy was like, ‘I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.’ I was like, ‘Teddy, we can still birdie the last two holes and win this thing.’ … I was still in the moment, I was still trying to win the tournament and Teddy was a little shaken up, but that’s one of those things. We’re going to have good moments and bad moments. That one [was] a bad moment.”

“I wasn’t devastated because of anything that he said,” Scott added. “It was because he hit a perfect shot. I wanted him to hit a 9-iron and he hit it just like I wanted him to. For me, I felt like I ruined the tournament by getting him to hit a 9-iron. When he said I was disappointed on 17 tee, it wasn’t because of anything he said. It was because I chose a club that went in the water.”

Both maintained they were surprised at the traction this story gained in the hours and days following the final round.

“In that situation, it would be like LeBron James missing two free throws to win the championship,” compared Watson, who finished in fourth place. “He’s not going to be like, ‘Man, I can’t wait till next year.’ He’s going to be upset. I was upset, but if you talk to Teddy, I didn’t yell at Teddy. I said, ‘That club? That club.’ And then I yelled at myself for picking that club and staying with that club. We can always second-guess ourselves after the fact, but if I make par on that hole and win, nobody cares.”

While Watson spoke with reporters Wednesday, the caddie playfully intervened.

“What is this thing?” Scott asked incredulously while holding a yardage book.

“That is a yardage book, sir. You add numbers with that,” Watson replied. He then turned to a reporter and deadpanned, “We’re still working on his adding. His adding isn’t very good.”

So much for any lasting tension.

As for any long-term instability in their relationship, Watson and Scott confidently quashed that notion.

“We’re past it,” Watson said. “Me and him were laughing about all the bad press we were getting. Well, not we. Me. It’s one of those things where some people are going to like you and some people are going to hate you. I’ve just got to keep going.”

“We’re going to make mistakes,” added Scott. “I’ve done things to him that he doesn’t like; he does things to me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like him. Just like any other family member. If you can’t treat your family bad, who can you treat bad?”

In fact, Scott believes that the situation wasn’t even all that unusual – other than the fact it was caught by cameras.

“The weirdest thing about it is that when you go back and look at it, it really wasn’t bad at all,” he said. “You see a lot worse out here. There are guys that go through it on every shot. He hardly ever says anything to me. It’s only every now and then. Unfortunately, it was caught on TV and the announcers made it a bigger deal.”

This week, Watson and Scott are together again. Still working as part of the same team. Still friends.

It’s been nearly eight years that they’ve been working together and it’s a relationship that has undergone some pretty major highs and lows.

Neither of them sees that changing anytime soon, although Watson acknowledged that if it does, it won’t be from his decision.

“Teddy loves me – and if he doesn’t, then he can quit anytime he wants,” he said. “So obviously I’m a good boss. … Obviously he likes me a little bit.”

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Birdie binge for Woodland comes up short at CJ Cup

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2018, 12:52 pm

Gary Woodland mounted an impressive rally at the CJ Cup, but in the end even 11 birdies weren't enough to catch Brooks Koepka.

Woodland started the final round in South Korea five shots behind the new world No. 1, but he made the biggest move of the day amid chilly conditions on Jeju Island. With six birdies over his first nine holes, including four in a row on Nos. 6-9, he briefly caught Koepka at the top of the leaderboard.

But Woodland bogeyed No. 10, and even with five more birdies coming home to finish a 9-under 63 he still finished alone in second, four shots behind Koepka who closed with a bogey-free 29 to put the trophy out of reach.

"Yesterday I didn't get any putts to go in, and today I saw a lot of putts go in," Woodland told reporters. "Brooks with the lead, not much fazes him. So you knew you had to make a lot of birdies, and I made a lot today. But I was just too far behind."

It's the second straight strong performance from Woodland to start the new wraparound season, as he tied for fifth at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia after holding a share of the 54-hole lead. A closing 63 would have gone a long way last week, but he was still pleased to be able to make Koepka sweat a little on a day when even the bad holes resulted from good shots.

"I made two bogeys on the back and I said, 'Be right' on both shots," Woodland said. "I was just maybe a little too amped up, a little excited. I hit them both perfect. All in all, I would have liked for a couple more putts to go in yesterday and been a little closer going into today."

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Kang (69) wins Buick LPGA Shanghai by two

By Associated PressOctober 21, 2018, 9:11 am

SHANGHAI - Danielle Kang shot a 3-under 69 on Sunday to win the LPGA Shanghai by two strokes for her second career title.

Kang, who started the final round one stroke off the lead, offset a lone bogey on the par-5 fourth hole with four birdies after the turn to finish at 13-under 275 and hold off a late charge by Lydia Ko, who had the day's lowest score of 66.

Ko, who had seven birdies and a lone bogey, tied for second at 11 under with a group of seven players that included Brittany Altomare (71), Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and overnight co-leader Sei Young Kim (72).

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Carlota Ciganda, who also held a share of the lead after the third round, shot a 73 to fall into a tie for ninth with Bronte Law and local favorite Lu Liu.

Paula Creamer carded three birdies against a pair of bogeys for a 71 to finish in sole possession of 12th place.

The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

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New world No. 1 Koepka already wants more

By Nick MentaOctober 21, 2018, 8:48 am

If there is a knock on Brooks Koepka, it’s that he’s a little too cool.

Gary Woodland, who threw 11 birdies at Koepka on Sunday and still finished four shots back, inadvertently captured that exact sentiment after Saturday's third round.

“You know," he said, "Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much."

In context, Woodland meant that there was little anyone in the field could do to rattle the 54-hole leader. (He proved himself right, by the way.)

And out of context, the comment speaks to the general narrative surrounding Koepka. That he’s just detached enough for fans to have trouble attaching themselves to him. That he’s just a jock here to cash checks and collect trophies, to kick ass and chew bubblegum.

But for a few moments Sunday in South Korea, it became clear that Brooks Koepka does care. Crouched on the 72nd green with some time to stop and think as Ian Poulter lagged a bit behind, Koepka finally let a moment get to him. Cameras caught the three-time major champion appearing unusually emotional.

Of course, less than a minute later, those same cameras caught him yawning. The contrast was almost too perfect. It was as if he knew he had just been found out and needed to snap back into character – which he did.

He promptly poured in an eagle putt to cap off a final-round 64, to win the CJ Cup by four, and to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.

Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

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“To be world No. 1 is something I dreamed of as a kid,” Koepka said on the 18th green, moments after closing out his fifth PGA Tour victory and third this year. “I don't think this one's going to sink in.”

What is beginning to sink in is that Koepka now unequivocally belongs in the conversation, the one golf fans and analysts have been having over and over since Tiger Woods fell from golf's greatest heights.

Who’s the best at their best?

In the two years between his first PGA Tour win and his first U.S. Open victory, Koepka was touted as having the kind of talent to compete with the game's elites. It took him a little while for him to get here, but Koepka has taken over as the latest player to look like he’ll never lose again. Just as it was for Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas before him, this is Koepka's moment. This is his run of dominance.

It’s a run that will have to end at some point. Every one of the guys just mentioned did cool off eventually. Koepka will, too. Maybe it will be fatigue, maybe it will be injury, and maybe it’ll just be golf. This talent pool is simply too deep for anyone to remain on top for too long.

But what Koepka has done this year – in defending his U.S. Open title, in staring down Tiger at the PGA, in claiming the Player of the Year Award, in ascending to the top of the world rankings – is put his name at the forefront of the conversation. If he was unappreciated at times before, those days are behind him. He's already accomplished too much, proven himself too good, to be overlooked any longer.

And he’s far from done.

“For me, I just need to keep winning,” the new world No. 1 said Sunday. “I feel like to win a few more regular Tour events and then keep adding majors. I feel like my game's set up for that. I've gotten so much confidence off winning those majors where, it's incredible, every time I tee it up, I feel like I really have a good chance to win whether I have my A-game or not. It's something I'm so excited [about] right now, you have no idea. I just can't wait to go play again.”

Watch: Koepka holes out from off the green at 16

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 21, 2018, 5:36 am

Brooks Koepka faced a stiff challenge from Gary Woodland on Sunday in South Korea, but eventually it came time to end the suspense.

Having clung to a slim lead for much of the back nine, Koepka looked as though he was going to have to scramble just to save par when he missed the green at 16. 

Instead, caddie Ricky Elliott was able to leave Koepka's putter in the bag.

That holeout combined with a bogey from Woodland at 17 put Koepka ahead by three, allowing him to walk to victory and to the top of the world rankings.