Bubba Watson makes birdie on the second hole at Muirfield Village on Saturday afternoon to move to 7 under.
Bubba Watson just misses an eagle attempt from 24 feet at the par-5 15th hole during the first round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.
By Brian Allee-Walsh, PGATOUR.com Correspondent
AVONDALE, La. -- Bubba Watson provided a unique perspective on the latest young phenom to hit the PGA TOUR.
It is vintage Bubba.
Soon after moving up the leaderboard Friday in the second round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Watson discussed with reporters the mental aspect of Chinese amateur Guan Tianlang's golf game at the tender age of 14.
"At 14, he's not trying to pay his house off, you know?'' Watson told reporters after he carded a 65 to move into tie for 12th at 6-under 138. "I've hit enough bad shots where now I get to worry about them. But he doesn't see that yet.
"Right now, this is the first time in the tournament, and he's enjoying every minute of it. I am, too, but I worry. He's 14, he doesn't worry yet.''
Watson said Guan's sudden splash on the world golf scene is a reflection of the changing times.
"You know, bigger, better, stronger, faster, no matter what the sport is,'' the 2012 Masters champion said. "You look at every person in sports. It's growing that way. Pretty soon they're going to be younger, and 20 years down the road it's probably going to be younger than 14. Records are already broken.''
Two weeks ago, Guan became the youngest player to make the cut at a Masters tournament. On Friday, he made the cut at the Zurich Classic, his second event on TOUR.
By Brian Allee-Walsh, Special to PGATOUR.COM
AVONDALE, La. -- One of the featured groups failed to take advantage of a vulnerable golf course Thursday morning in the opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Greeted by soft greens and a slight north wind, the golf gods seemed to be smiling down on two past champions - Bubba Watson (2011) and Nick Watney (2007) -- and defending champion Jason Dufner. But none came close to matching Ricky Barnes' course-record tying 8-under 64 at rain-soaked TPC Louisiana.
Watney led the threesome with a 3-under 69, one better than Dufner (70) and four better than Watson (73).
Watney got an early start to his 32nd birthday, waking up to darkness to work out the kinks before teeing off No. 10 at 8:30 a.m. ET.
"Waking up at 5 in the morning, I'll probably be pretty tame tonight," Watney told reporters after his round. "But yeah, it's always good to celebrate a birthday, and to shoot a decent round makes it even better.
"I'm happy with my round, so I'll go home and watch the boys have at it this afternoon."
Watney also planned to watch the first-round of the NFL Draft where his beloved San Francisco 49ers are slated to pick 31st as the runner-up to the Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens.
With 13 overall picks in hand, Watney suggested the 49ers might be ripe to maneuver up in the first round.
"The 49ers are really good," Watney said. "I don't think they have any major holes. But maybe a safety because we lost Dashon Goldston (to Tampa Bay in free agency). So that might be our weak spot."
Dufner fell short of his expectations Thursday but certainly didn't shoot himself out of the tournament, posting birdies on both par 5s on the front nine and a birdie on No. 16, a short 344-yard par 4. His lone bogey came on the par-3 fourth hole.
"We had a north wind today, which I think I've only played once before in my years here," Dufner said. "It was pretty score-able. But some holes we're used to playing downwind were into the wind today. So the course played longer and played really different than what I'm accustomed to here in New Orleans."
Watson slipped past reporters, signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans, then headed into the clubhouse to ponder his round and how to play himself into contention on Friday. He missed the cut last year in defense of his title.
"Eight under is some good golf," Watney said of Barnes' round. "I would take that any day."
By Brian Allee-Walsh, Special to PGATOUR.COM
AVONDALE. La. -- On a day better suited for waterfowl, it seemed fitting that Bubba Watson was paired with two stars of the popular reality TV series "Duck Dynasty."
Playing in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans Pro-Am at TPC Louisiana with brothers Willie and Jase Robertson and Duck Commander empire associate Justin Martin, Watson's team teed off at 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday before heavy rain and tornadic weather halted play for 5 1/2 hours.
During the delay, the clean-shaven Watson and the bearded brothers entertained reporters on the back porch of the clubhouse.
"He's the greatest," Jase said of Watson, the 2012 Masters champion and winner of the 2011 Zurich Classic. "He's a legend," Willie added.
"I didn't say it this time," Watson responded. "They said it."
The brothers apparently met Watson on social media and have been fast friends ever since, acknowledging that they have similar likes and dislikes.
"We share a lot of the same values," Willie said.
"I'm a good hunter, too," Watson said.
The season finale of "Duck Dynasty'' airs Wednesday night on A&E.
Asked if he was a fan of the show, Watson replied: "Y'all have a show? What show is that?"
"It's called 'Duck Dynasty,'" Willie said.
"Just pluggin' y'all," Watson said, smiling.
Watson managed to field a few golf-related questions, noting he is more refreshed to play in New Orleans this year than he was 12 months ago when he finished tied for 18th in his title defense. He was a new father and two weeks removed from his Masters victory when he came to the Crescent City a year ago.
"I was tired last year," Watson said. "But I feel good this year. This is the closest tournament to my home in Pensacola (Fla.), so friends and family come in. It's a good time here, good food. When I get here I get energized.
"I won here two years ago, so I'm pumped up to play this golf course. I want to perform well. So now I got to figure out a way to beat some of these guys this week."
Meantime, Watson looked forward to finishing the round with his bearded friends. Asked if he ever considered sporting facial growth, he laughingly replied: "No, I look way too good to cover up my face. They have to cover up their faces to be on TV. But, I look perfect, so I've got no reason to do that."
SUNDAY: Stay tuned for Billy Horschel's winner's press conference.
All interviews will be streamed on PGATOUR.COM.
Tuesday, April 23
Guan Tianlang, 3 p.m. ET
Wednesday, April 24
Jason Dufner, 10 a.m. ET
Justin Rose, 3:30 p.m. ET
Bubba Watson, after pro-am
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Kevin Na has company.
Bubba Watson also recorded a 10 on the par-3 12th hole Sunday at Augusta National.
The defending champion rinsed his tee shot, hit his third from the drop area, and again found the water.
Watson's fifth shot carried into the back bunker before his pitch ran through the green and into the water again. Watson played out sideways from the sand on his eighth shot then got up-and-down for the 10.
The score dropped Watson to 6 over on the day and to 8 over for the week.
Watson shot a 2-under 70 Saturday at Augusta National. (How/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tiger Woods wasn't the only one assessed with a penalty on Saturday.
Defending champion Bubba Watson hit his second shot into the water on the 11th hole en route to making double bogey on the par 4.
"Over-cut it, and I knew as soon as I hit it where it was going, it was going to go off those," said Watson, who shot 70 playing alongside longtime marker Jeff Knox in the first group off. "I even told my caddie, I said, 'Oh, that's in the water.' It was going to come off those slopes and go right in the water and that's what it did."
Because of the way it went into the water and with the pin so far back on the green, Watson called for a rules official to figure out where he should take a drop.
Watson took his drop 10 feet right of the drop area after asking where the ball had crossed.
The decision to call for an official, however, had nothing to do with Woods' penalty from the second round that was assessed on Saturday morning.
"I do it anyway," Watson said. "I don't know the rule book. Even if I'm on a cart path I make sure I get a rules official over there, just to make sure I don't do anything wrong."
While Watson didn't know all the particulars of the Woods penalty when he came off the course Saturday morning, he could certainly empathize with the former No. 1.
"I've had a phone call from the U.S. Open before," he said. "So I know what those phone calls feel like"
Watson was referencing the 2007 event at Oakmont, where he a shot off the lead entering the weekend when a fan called in what they thought was a rules violation.
"They said, 'Bubba, you said you double hit it on camera,'" Watson recalled. "And I said, 'No, I did not double hit it. I said I could have double hit it.' I said, 'You have to go back and listen to the tape.' I went right under it, and I made a triple bogey on the hole."
Four years later, Watson won the Farmers Insurance Open. The next day, a fan called in again.
"They tried to say that I did something wrong," Watson said. "But the rules official said, 'No, you didn't.'
"When you're in the high profile situations, you're having a chance to win the Masters, you're going to get cameras all over you. I think it's just one of those things. (Tiger) is a high profile player. It was one of those things where he took a drop that he felt was right. He wasn't trying to cheat anybody. He thought it was right. It's unfortunate for him that he got a two‑shot penalty. But fortunate for him that he's still playing."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Only three times has a player successfully defended at the Masters.
Almost as rare is the defending champion missing the cut. Bubba Watson is danger of doing that, however, after a 75 in the opening round. (He tees off at 1:30 p.m. ET).
Only eight defending champions have gone on to miss the cut the year after they won. The last to do it was Mike Weir in 2004 (see chart for others).
What do you think Watson will do? Discuss below.
|Player||Missed Cut Following Year||Scores||Strokes Missed By|
|Seve Ballesteros||1981, 1984||78-76 and 73-74||Six and Two|
|Jose Maria Olazabal||2000||72-77||Three|