On-course behavior not helping Bubba

By Jason SobelAugust 8, 2014, 9:30 pm

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – About 90 minutes after Bubba Watson finished his second round at the 96th PGA Championship, he finally emerged from the clubhouse. Smiling and energetic, he stopped to answer a few questions about a day on the course that found him visibly and audibly demonstrative at various times.

Not that he saw it that way.

“No, what would I be frustrated about?” he asked rhetorically. “I feel great.”

Really? Not a little angrier than usual? Maybe a little more irritable?

“I don’t think so. Maybe if you watched me on three of the four holes I made bogey. But no, I didn’t feel any different today.”

Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.

But if this was the norm, then something might need to change.

On the 16th hole – his seventh of the day - he cried, “I can’t play golf, man. I got nothing.” On the 18th tee, a double-crossed drive was followed with a scowling, "It doesn't matter what I do, man. It doesn't matter. It's f------ horses---.'' On the next hole, unhappy with a recovery shot, he tossed his club into the rough. Two holes later, he accompanied another poor swing with another outburst: “God doggit.”

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In social media circles, the debate heated up as to whether Watson is everything he claims to be, whether he might be more disingenuous than many realize.

He denied that claim, instead focusing on what went wrong from a technical standpoint.

“When the rain comes, my driver is really difficult to hit straight, because of the water on the club face,” he explained. “So anytime it starts raining, I don’t hit my driver very well. It squirts one way or the other. … [There was] just a stretch where you get one shot that goes one way and another shot that goes another way. I didn’t think my swing caused it, but it just makes you second-guess yourself next time you’re up on the tee.”

No apologies. No admission of guilt. No regrets.

Deep inside, though, he must have known that his on-course behavior was over the top.

About 30 minutes after speaking with GolfChannel.com outside the clubhouse, Watson got his message across through social media. He tweeted:

Sorry for my actions today! Trying to get better as person. Thanks to all who support me. #YallDontGiveUpOnMe

This was hardly the first public relations blunder of his career.

He once got into a televised argument with Steve Elkington during a round. He played the role of ugly American while competing in France. He blamed caddie Ted Scott for club selection while in contention down the stretch of a tournament.

It wasn’t even the first public relations blunder for him this week.

Two days before the tournament started, the PGA Tour’s longest hitter adamantly declined to take part in the restored long-drive competition, instead opting to hit 3-iron off the 10th tee of his practice round.

“I was just trying to prove a point that nobody cared about,” he later explained. Or perhaps more precisely, failed to explain.

All of this from a player who announced in January that this year would be more of a spiritual journey.

“This whole year is about rejoice,” he said at the time. “When I look back, I have to rejoice on what I have done.”

He even addressed his behavior inside the ropes.

“On the course, I have to act the same way I do off the course. Off the course, I don't get angry. I don't flip out. On the course for the last few years, you know, I have showed anger, showed me being disgruntled. That's not the way I should be portraying myself.”

The way he portrayed himself on Friday was like a diva, pouting throughout the round.

It was enough that even his playing partners took notice, though neither blamed him for affecting their rounds.

“He was fine,” said Rory McIlroy, who posted a 4-under 67. “He complained a couple of times on a couple of bad shots, but everyone complained. I complained out there, as well. That definitely didn’t affect me.”

Added Martin Kaymer: “A couple of times, he said that he had water on the clubface before he hit. If that’s true, who knows? We are all just very different characters. Rory and I get along very well. Bubba, he just did his own thing.”

For a player who so clearly has made it a goal to control his attitude during the course of a round, Watson is obviously failing to meet that ambition.

Before he left the course for the day, he was asked one more time if he was annoyed or irritated or frustrated.

“Me? Just frustrated because of bad golf.”

At least he admitted that much.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”