Watson Makes Winning Fun Again.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
Bubba Watson is making the TPC River Highlands course in Cromwell his personal playground.
Watson won his second Travelers Championship Sunday in a two-hole playoff with England’s Paul Casey after the two finished regulation at 16-under-par. Watson’s win was classic Bubba. He took driver out of the bag on the short par-for 15th when all he needed was an iron off the tee to leave himself with a half wedge into the green.
He still somehow made par from an awkward lie after almost hitting the ball into the woods on the right.
He made an easy par on the par-three 16th, got himself in trouble again on 17 and wound up making bogey, and made par on 18 to let a three-shot lead over Casey with five holes to play disappear.
The two men made par on 18 the first time they played it in the playoff, with Casey somehow missing the green and finding a bunker on the right side from a perfect fairway lie, and Watson making a miraculous par from the top of the hill and the deep rough on the right after another errant drive. The second time Watson and Casey played 18 to determine a winner, Watson hit a perfect drive, put the ball within eight feet and drained the putt for birdie, while Casey was hacking it around like a weekend golfer.
Watson shot a 67 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell on Sunday, while Casey recorded a 65. The champion earned $1.152 million for his efforts.
Yep, it was classic Bubba.
The guy certainly makes for great theater whenever he tees it up, with that pink driver of his smashing the ball prodigious lengths and firing at pins no matter where they are on the greens. He’s self-taught in the game, like most of us, and he’s fun to watch, almost falling over at times when he drives the ball. That’s why we love him.
He was calm after his win and spoke about his dedication to family.
“My priorities are different. I don't cry as much after the wins now because my dad passed away in 2010, so there is more to life than having a bunch of trophies that are just going to rot away at some point. I FaceTimed my son on the way up here, so I could say hey to him before he went to bed. There are a lot more important things in life. So, it's a different drive. If my wife Angie was here we'd be crying together, holding each other. Hopefully, she'd give me a kiss if she was here.”
He spoke about his consistency this week, during which he shot rounds of 62, 67, 68 and 67.
“The week was a great week. My body felt good. My mind was calm. Coming down the stretch, I didn't execute. I didn't make the shots I needed to make. Paul made the shots he needed to make. Then in the playoff I hit a good shot, put some pressure on him and got a victory. It does remind me of 2010 where coming down the stretch I had to hit some good shots and I didn't. I had to force a playoff today. So, it's good to get the victory. I wish it was a lot easier, but a victory is a victory.”
Watson, with two Masters and nine PGA Tour wins under his belt, has become one of the hottest players in golf. He’s now third on the FedExCup playoff list and will certainly be a force at the British Open and the PGA Championship, the final two Majors of the year.
“My goal in my career was to get 10 wins. I needed two more wins coming here. I felt like in this day and age with the talent level all across the world, everybody playing the game of golf, that 10 is a big number. Tiger Woods raised the bar for everybody, and around the world they've raised the bar. So, it makes it tougher to win. Ten was always a big number for me. I think double digits, if you have double digit wins in this day and age, I think that's pretty good. Other people might think differently than I do, but I think that 10 wins is a big number.”
It was great week at TPC River Highlands. We got lucky with the weather, dodged the rain except for Saturday night and early Sunday, although some showers and mist were over Cromwell during the final round. Still, a fairly large crowd braved the wet and chilly conditions and should be commended for their fortitude.
The tournament organizers did another great job assembling a top notch field, no easy task with the tourney coming the week after the U.S. Open on the West Coast. Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Keegan Bradley, Luke Donald, Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker, Casey, Billy Horschel, Zach Johnson and so many other top pros joined the fun this week. And, of course, there was Bubba Watson.
It’s cool knowing that God willing and the creek don’t rise, he’ll be back again next year to defend his title.