March 11 2012
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
DORAL, Fla. -- Here are a few observations from Sunday’s final round at TPC Blue Monster at Doral, where Justin Rose won by a stroke over Bubba Watson on Sunday:
Blinders: Justin Rose was not scoreboard watching. He paid no attention to any of the various leaderboards scattered around the TPC Blue Monster at Doral complex. Rose said he had to make as many birdies as possible through the first dozen holes . Strategy did not come into play until the final few holes. Playing in the penultimate group turned into a huge advantage for Rose as he was able to post a number and put pressure on 54-hole leader Bubba Watson.
Bubba Talk: Watson battles emotions on the golf course and it's readily apparent with his body language. Some players yell at their caddies when struggling; Watson gets down on himself. He mentally and sometimes verbally berates himself. It's a sign of Watson's maturing golf game that he could have such a terrible front nine and be mentally strong enough to rally at the finish.
Cart Ride: One of the more bizarre sights on a golf course is a player taking a cart ride. There are really just two possibilities -- either a ball out of bounds or a withdrawal. When Tiger Woods got into a cart on the 12th hole the answer was evident. He withdrew because of an Achilles problem in his left ankle. He had begun to limp on the back nine even after changing shoes at the turn. Woods says he will have the tendon examined but there is no word on his future schedule. Woods withdrew from THE PLAYERS Championship last May because of injury and did not return to the PGA TOUR until August.
Thumper: If you ever have the chance to get close enough to hear one of Rory McIlroy's greenside bunker shots, pay attention. You hear a distinctive "thump." That's the noise a sand wedge makes as the flange splashes into the sand and the ball rides that cushion of sand out of the bunker onto the green. In 2011, McIlroy was 141st on TOUR in bunker saves, This year he’s ranked third, getting up and down 78 percent of the time.
Blue Monster: If you wonder why players hit drivers instead of 3-woods off the tee at the 18th, it’s because the landing area is much wider for drivers. Players have the option of squeezing a 3-wood into a 25-yard landing zone or blowing driver into a much wider landing area. Neither strategy was very successful on Sunday. The 18th played a half-stroke over par in the final round.
Fashion Statement: It's not a new clothing style that we saw on Sunday, instead it was a club promotion. TaylorMade had its players wear shirts and caps with "17" displayed. It was referencing the 17 extra yards the company says its new line of RBZ woods delivers. It would have been a wonderful marketing coincidence if Justin Rose had parred the 18th hole to finish 17-under par.