Bubba Watson - April 10, 2012

By Morning Drive TeamApril 10, 2012, 1:11 pm

2012 Masters Champion Bubba Watson surprised Erik and Gary with a visit to the Morning Drive studio. After arriving, he first made a plea to previous guest Andres Gonzales to follow him on Twitter just as Gonzales has been begging Tiger to follow him on Twitter. It has been a whirlwind since he won on Sunday and he arrived back in Orlando early Monday morning. Since arriving, he has spent time with his wife and son Caleb although he has not gotten a lot of sleep.

When he held his son in his arms after winning The Masters, Bubba felt that it was a greater honor to hold his son than to wear a Green Jacket. It means more to him to be able to feed his son and change his diaper than to wear a Green Jacket. He does not know if he would have won The Masters if Caleb had not been in his life.

When you are the Masters Champion, he joked that it may not really matter what you do with it or what may get on it. The General Lee is in the shop right now to have some repairs but he added that he will not do anything silly or dumb (or real dumb, anyway) with the Green Jacket out of respect to Augusta National and The Masters.

Looking back at the second nine on Sunday, the three-putt bogey at 12 stands out. But he also knew that he could play holes 13-18 well because other people had done it and he had done it. When he made the bogey, he did not get mad at himself because he knew that he could play well on the final six holes and he did exactly that.

He knew what I.K. Kim did when she missed a one foot putt to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship and that was in his mind on Sunday. The first putt to get close on the second playoff hole was the toughest one because it was so fast and after he lagged the putt to a foot he asked for the patrons to be quiet because he had to concentrate hard to make the winning putt.

When it comes to the Green Jacket, he doesn’t care about the details as he is just happy that the Augusta National was willing to give it to him. The tee shot at 18 was a very stressful shot because he is forced to hit it straight while he likes to shape the ball all the time but he was able to pull off the shot numerous times when it mattered.

When he was looking at his second shot on the second playoff hole from the trees and pine straw, he knew that he had 160 yards and he had to hit a huge hook. He knew he could do it but he could not see the ball after it landed on the green. Lots of patrons patted him on the back which did not make him the most comfortable but it was great to see that the shot was successful.

He saw Louis Oosthuizen make a double eagle on 2 and the roar went on for several minutes. He also heard the roars from the holes-in-one at 16 on Sunday by Bo Van Pelt and Adam Scott. It was an unbelievable weekend with so many exciting things happening and so many big reactions.

During the final round, he saw his friends from the PGA TOUR as well as his mother but he kept his head down to stay focused because he really wanted to win The Masters. It meant a great deal to him that they would go out on the course to follow him and after he won, it was wonderful to be able to see them.

Now that he has won The Masters, among other things he has changed his cell phone number and sent the number to Davis Love III. Watson told Love III that he hoped that he would be able to be a member of his Ryder Cup team this year. Being able to represent your country anywhere for anything is a great honor and it is something he lives for.

He mentioned that the 2013 Champions Dinner menu could include Waffle House and he may stop there today on his way to New York. Lexington Barbecue is also a contender for the menu as they were great to Bubba when he won on the PGA TOUR for the first time in 2010.

He was moved by a message he received from Steve Elkington. A few years ago, he and Elkington had a disagreement during a golf tournament. Afterwards, Elkington told Watson that if he didn’t change his behavior, he would be selling cars and not playing golf for a living. Watson did not like the comments but he was able to take the criticism and grow from it.

Being Bubba is just being a good person who loves his family and loves what he does. He enjoys having fun as well but he is also serious about his golf game. Payne Stewart and Peter Jacobsen are two examples of players that he admires. He was born in and grew up in a small town but now he is wearing a green jacket.

Before a final round, he tends to get really loose and pumped up to the point where he thinks he can hit the ball miles and miles. On Saturday, he practiced putting before hitting balls and talked to his caddie about what he needed to do to stay calm. His caddie Ted told him that no one was talking him so he could just be himself and play Bubba golf. If he could be himself, he would do a great job. Paul Azinger came over and gave him the same advice. He was able to keep his head down and do what he needed to do and he ended up being able to win the playoff.

The moment he realized he could win The Masters came after he made birdie at 16. Following his slice off the 17th tee, he knew that he could win because he knew he could hit a great shot from the trees. He told his caddie at that moment that winning The Masters was possible. Bubba hit a great second shot at 17 on his way to making par and then he hit a great drive at 18 on his way to a par there in regulation.

He read the Bible in the morning on Sunday and told himself all day to just let God’s will be done no matter what happens. He wanted to just play Bubba golf, be himself, and let the chips fall where they may. He knew that at the very least he would get back to the 2013 Masters through his performance and he wanted to show everyone what kind of champion he could be.

During the final round, he and Louis Oosthuizen always exchanged “good shot” to each other and walking down 18, Louis joked to him that PING is very happy because he, Bubba, and Lee Westwood were all in contention. They told each other a few jokes during the day between shots which was nice. He and Louis are great friends and felt bad that Louis did not win and even apologized for not immediately shaking his hand. Louis said that it was no problem.

He learned everything in sports from his father but they did not have an emotional relationship with each other until his father was diagnosed with cancer. After that, they hugged and said I love you to each other for the very first time and he always makes sure to hug his mother at every opportunity.

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Thompson bounces back from rule violation

By Randall MellAugust 19, 2018, 2:22 am

If Lexi Thompson’s trouble in the sixth fairway brought back any painful memories Saturday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, she shook them off in a hurry.

If the approach of another rules official amid a spirited run of brilliant play rattled her, she didn’t show it.

Thompson posted an 8-under-par 64 in the third round despite another awkward rules infraction.

Her round was impressively bogey free but not mistake free, and so her work will be a little harder Sunday chasing Lizette Salas.

After incurring a one-shot penalty for violating a local rule in effect for preferred lies, Thompson will start the final round five shots back instead of four.

She knows she’s fortunate she isn’t six back.

If a rules official hadn’t witnessed Thompson in the middle of committing the infraction, she could have been assessed an additional penalty shot for playing from the wrong spot.

Thompson got the penalty after stepping on the 10th tee and blowing her drive right, into the sixth fairway. She got it after picking up her ball over there and lifting, cleaning and placing it. She got it because she wasn’t allowed to do that in any other fairway except for the fairway of the hole she was playing.

The preferred-lie rule was distributed to players earlier in the week.

The story here isn’t really the penalty.

Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship

It’s Thompson’s reaction to it, because she opened this week in such heartfelt fashion. After skipping the Ricoh Women’s British Open to take a month-long “mental break,” Thompson revealed this week that she has been struggling emotionally in the wake of last year’s highs and lows. She opened up about how trying to “hide” her pain and show strength through it all finally became too much to bear. She needed a break. She also candidly shared how the challenges of being a prodigy who has poured herself into the game have led her to seek therapists’ help in building a life about more than golf.

That’s a lot for a 23-year-old to unload publicly.

Last year may have been the best and the worst of Thompson’s career. She said dealing with that controversial four-shot penalty that cost her the ANA Inspiration title, watching her mother battle cancer and losing a grandmother were cumulatively more difficult to deal with than she ever let on. There was also that short missed putt at year’s end that could have vaulted her to Rolex world No. 1 for the first time and led to her winning the Rolex Player of the Year title. She still won twice, won the Vare Trophy for low scoring average and was the Golf Writers Association of America Player of the Year.

That’s a lot of peaks and valleys for a young soul.

That’s the kind of year that can make you feel like an old soul in a hurry.

So seeing a rules official approach her on Saturday, you wondered about Thompson gathering herself so quickly. You wondered what she was thinking stepping up and ripping her next shot 215 majestic yards, about her hitting the green and saving par. You wondered about how she  bounced back to birdie 13 and 14 and finish bogey free.

With this week’s soul bearing, you wondered a lot about what rebounding like that meant to her.

We’re left to wonder from afar, though, because she wasn’t asked any of those questions by local reporters afterward. The transcript showed three brief answers to three short questions, none about the penalty or the challenge she met.

Of course, there were other questions to be asked, because local rules have been an issue this year. Did she read the local notes with the preferred lies explanation? She got hit with another local rules issue in Thailand this year, when she hit her ball near an advertising sign and moved the sign, not realizing a local rule made the sign a temporary immovable obstruction.

Of course, there were other good stories in Indy, too, with Sung Hyun Park poised to overtake Ariya Jutanugarn and return to Rolex world No. 1, with Salas holding off Park so brilliantly down the stretch Saturday.

Thompson, though, is the highest ranked American in the world. She’s the face of American women’s golf now. A face more tender, resolute and vulnerable than we have ever seen it.

Folks along the ropes watching her on the back nine in Indy Saturday got to see that better than any of us.

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Salas capitalizes on Park gaffe to take Indy lead

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2018, 2:07 am

INDIANAPOLIS – Lizette Salas waited patiently for Sung Hyun Park to make a rare mistake Saturday.

When the South Korean mishit her approach shot into the water on the par-4 16th, Salas capitalized quickly.

She rolled in her birdie putt then watched Park make double bogey – a three-shot swing that gave Salas the lead and the momentum heading into the final round of the Indy Women in Tech Championship. Salas closed out her 8-under 64 with a birdie on No. 18 to reach 21 under – two shots ahead of Park and Amy Yang.

“I have been striking the ball really well, and I just had to stay patient,” Salas said. “And yeah, putts dropped for sure. I just really felt comfortable.”

If she keeps it up one more day, Salas could be celebrating her first tour win since the 2014 Kingsmill Championship and her second overall. With five of the next six players on the leader board ranked in the world’s top 30, Salas knows it won’t be easy.

The changing weather conditions weather might not help, either. If the forecast for mostly sunny conditions Sunday holds, the soft greens that have kept scores at near record-lows through the first three rounds could suddenly become quicker and less forgiving.

But the 29-year-old Californian seems to have the perfect touch for this course, which weaves around and inside the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

She shot three sub-par rounds and finished tied for fifth last year here. This year, she has three more sub-par rounds including a course record-tying 62 on Thursday and has been atop the leader board each of the first three days.

“I have been so confident the whole year,” Salas said. “I have a different mentality, I’m a different player. So I’m just going to go out and play as if I’m behind.”

Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship

Salas’ toughest challenge still could from Park, who spent most of Saturday flirting with a 54-hole scoring record.

She birdied the last four holes on the front side and made back-to-back birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 to reach 21 under with a chance to become the sixth LPGA player to ever finish three rounds at 23 under.

The miscue at No. 16 changed everything.

She never really recovered after dropping two shots, settling for par on the final two holes for a 66 after shooting 68 and 63 the first two days. Yang finished with a 65 after going 68 and 64.

“I was a little weary with right-to-left wind,” Park said. “I think a little bit of weariness got to me, but overall, it’s OK.”

Defending champion Lexi Thompson was five shots back after completing the final nine of the second round in 2 under 34 and shooting 64 in the afternoon.

She made up ground despite being assessed a one-stroke penalty after hitting her tee shot on No. 10 into the sixth fairway and lifting the ball without authority. Rules officials had implemented the preferred lies rule because more than an inch of rain had doused the course.

Thompson still made her par on the hole though it temporarily broke her momentum after making six birdies on the front nine in her first appearance since taking a monthlong break to recover from physical and mental exhaustion.

“Twenty-seven holes, I definitely had a few tired swings toward the end,” said Thompson, who finished each of the first two rounds with 68s. “But overall, a lot of positives. I hit it great. I made some really good putts.”

Three players – Nasa Hataoka of Japan, Jin Young Ko of South Korea and Mina Harigae – were tied at 15 under. Ko started the third round with a share of the lead but had three bogeys in a round of 70.

Now, all Salas has to do is cash in one more time.

“I’ve been knocking on the door quite a bit in the last four years, haven’t been able to get it done,” Salas said. “I’ve got good players behind me, I’ve just got to play my game.”

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Bradley leads Dick's Sporting Goods Open into final round

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2018, 12:28 am

ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Michael Bradley shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the PGA Tour Champions' Dick's Sporting Goods Open.

The 52-year-old Bradley had five birdies and a bogey in the rain-delayed round to reach 11-under 133 at En-Joie Golf Club. A four-time winner on the PGA Tour, he's seeking his first victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Bart Bryant and Marco Dawson were tied for second. Bryant, the 2013 winner at En-Joie for his lone Champions title, had a 67. Dawson shot 70.

Full-field scores from the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open

Wes Short Jr. (65), Clark Dennis (70) and Tom Gillis (69) were 9 under, and Kenny Perry (69) was 7 under with first-round leader Doug Garwood (73), Mark Calcavecchia (69), Woody Austin (71), Jerry Haas (68) and Scott Parel (68). Perry won the 3M Championship two weeks ago in Minnesota.

Bernard Langer, the 2014 winner, was 5 under after a 69. Defending champion Scott McCarron had a 71 to get to 1 under. John Daly, the winner of the PGA Tour's 1992 B.C. Open at En-Joie, was 6 over after rounds of 73 and 77.

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Snedeker still in front on Day 3 of suspended Wyndham

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2018, 11:21 pm

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Brandt Snedeker held a three-stroke lead Saturday in the Wyndham Championship when the third round was suspended because of severe weather.

Snedeker was 16 under for the tournament with 11 holes left in the round at the final event of the PGA Tour's regular season.

Brian Gay was 13 under through 12 holes, and Trey Mullinax, Keith Mitchell, C.T. Pan and D.A. Points were another stroke back at varying stages of their rounds.

Thirty players were still on the course when play was halted during the mid-afternoon with thunder booming and a threat of lightning. After a 3-hour, 23-minute delay, organizers chose to hold things up overnight and resume the round at 8 a.m. Sunday.

When things resume, Snedeker - who opened with a 59 to become the first Tour player this year and just the 10th ever to break 60 - will look to keep himself in position to contend for his ninth victory on Tour and his first since the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open.

Wyndham Championship: Full-field scores | Full coverage

Current FedExCup points list

The 2012 FedEx Cup champion won the tournament in 2007, the year before it moved across town to par-70 Sedgefield Country Club.

Snedeker's final 11 holes of the round could wind up being telling: In seven of the 10 previous years since the tournament's move to this course, the third-round leader or co-leader has gone on to win.

And every leader who finished the third round here at 16 under or better has wound up winning, including Henrik Stenson (16 under) last year and Si Woo Kim (18 under) in 2016.

Snedeker started the day off strong, rolling in a 60-foot chip for birdie on the par-4 second hole, then pushed his lead to three strokes with a birdie on No. 5 that moved him to 16 under. But after he sank a short par putt on the seventh, thunder boomed and the horn sounded to stop play.

Gay was 12 holes into a second consecutive strong round when the delay struck. After shooting a 63 in the second round, he had four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole. He placed his 200-yard second shot 10 feet from the flagstick and sank the putt.