Around the wider world of golf: Paul Casey snapped a 20-month victory drought by winning the Volvo Golf Champions on the European Tour; and the team of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson won the Champions Skins Game on the Champions Tour. That's right, the 71-year-old and the 61-year-old beat the young guns... and beat them impressively. Golf is so cool!
Although Tiger wasn't a factor on Sunday -- it's clear that he's still thinking more about where the club is than where the shot's going -- that didn't mean the Farmers Insurance Open was a snoozer. Far from it! The California desert seemed to be teeming with life these last two weeks... at least on the golf courses. Although the weather turned cold and wet, an early round of -8 by Nick Watney (he shot 28 on the back nine!) moved him to a T6 finish and foreshadowed just what could be done.
Bill Haas faded right out of the gate and Phil Mickelson struggled early, but it quickly became apparent that Mickelson came ready to play... as did Bubba Watson and last week's winner, rookie Jhonattan Vegas. Although several other players made runs at them, it didn't take long for the three to separate themselves from the rest of the field.
Even after all this time, it seems the commentators just can't get over how much Bubba curves his shots. He has said repeatedly that he finds straight shots almost impossible and that those slices and hooks are what he sees in his mind. What made it so wild is that he was hitting these huge curving shots far beyond everybody else -- even though Vegas and Mickelson aren't slouches -- and he still hit half his fairways, more that either of the other two. Not only that, he managed to lead the entire field in GIR, hitting almost 82% of them!
Those "anything but straight" balls Bubba hit kept finding their way into birdie range, and Bubba --who said all he practiced during his off-season was 10-foot putts -- kept making them. The other players could catch him but couldn't shake him.
In the end, it was Bubba's tenacity that won him the tournament.
Phil made a final push and birdied the last two holes to take solo second, a single stroke back. (You could argue that Phil lost it early in the round; he could have been 2- or even 3-under when he left the 3rd green.) Bubba flew the par-5 18th with a 2-stroke lead. Vegas, knowing he needed eagle to even have a chance, dumped his second into the lake in front of the green. He took a bogey to finish 3 back. Bubba scrambled for birdie and his 2nd Tour win.
There were a lot of twists and turns in this tournament... and not all of them came off Bubba's clubs. Still, it's those atypical shot shapes of his that make him as much fun to watch as Phil or Jhonattan. So is it any surprise that my Limerick Summary "takes a swing" at Bubba's swing?
A “Bubba swing” isn’t conventional;Click the photo to read the tournament wrap-up from PGATOUR.com.
His ball flight is multi-dimensional.
Though Einstein may grumble
And startled crowds mumble,
I'm certain that corkscrew’s intentional!