5 Things: Bubba’s clear perspective
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Bubba Watson obviously has figured something out. He played off for the PGA Championship last August. He qualified for the 2010 Ryder Cup team. He won the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open last month over Phil Mickelson. He finished fourth at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
So, what has Bubba found? What has kicked in?
“My dad passed away (after a long battle with throat cancer), and I realized that life is too short ... that in the grand scheme of things, golf means absolutely nothing,” he said. “My life revolves around golf, but it’s not my life. My tombstone is not going to say how many wins or losses I had. It’s going to hopefully say I’m a good person and everybody misses me.”
Watson knew he was living the dream, making millions through golf, but sometimes his emotions got the best of him.
“I just got wrapped up in the wrong stuff,” he said. “I was getting mad inside the ropes when people were taking my pictures, just stuff that, who cares. I should be honored that people want to talk to me and listen to what I have to say.”
• • •
Scotland’s Craig Connolly might just have the best job in the European caddie ranks: He loops for new world No. 1 Martin Kaymer. Not bad for a guy who a year ago wondered what his future held.
Connolly began carrying Kaymer’s bag last May, and he has helped Kaymer to four victories thus far, including the 2010 PGA Championship. The Scot previously had caddied for England’s Paul Casey, a relationship that lasted five years and yielded eight Euro Tour victories. Then Casey suddenly dumped Connolly early last year to hook up with Luke Donald’s brother Christian.
“Maybe Paul will someday tell me why he fired me,” Connolly said wistfully last year.
Bet he doesn’t really care for an explanation now.
• • •
The quarterfinals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship seemed destined to be a snoozefest . . . until J.B. Holmes brought the competition to a standstill.
In a matchup of the two biggest boppers on the PGA Tour, Holmes took nearly an hour to play the final two holes against Bubba Watson after two excruciatingly long rulings. Making matters worse, Holmes ended up losing both holes in what is believed to be the biggest collapse – 5 up thru 10 – in championship history.
Said rules official Dean Ryan, the man in charge of patrolling the Holmes/Watson match: “It took a little longer than we intended.”
Already derided as one of the slowest players on the PGA Tour, Holmes only furthered his reputation at Dove Mountain by fidgeting and bouncing and rehearsing and studying as time . . . seemingly . . . stood . . . still. Watson stayed away from the action, somewhat amused by the proceedings.
“My caddie kept saying, ‘You’re playing great, you’re playing great all week,’ ” Watson said. “Just keep doing your thing. If he beats you, he beats you.”
Five hours later, Watson was moving on.
• • •
Fourteen-year-old Charley Hull is the highest-ranked English player in the recently released Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking. The plus-3 handicap takes her place at No. 27 on the WWAGR, thanks to outstanding play on the Florida Orange Blossom Circuit in January.
Hull capped a glorious three weeks in the Sunshine State with a victory in the Jones/Doherty Championship. That breakthrough followed a runner-up showing in the Women’s South Atlantic Amateur and 12th in the Harder Hall. Hull is a member of Woburn Golf Club, England, the club to which Ian Poulter is attached.
• • •
Erik Compton’s travel schedule last week was unenviable. After tying for 25th at the Northern Trust Open – his best career finish on the PGA Tour – the two-time heart transplant recipient took a red-eye flight from Los Angeles, leaving at 10:30 p.m. and arriving at his home in Miami early Monday. When he awoke from a nap, he saw an e-mail from the PGA Tour informing him he was in the field for the Nationwide Tour’s Panama Championship.
Compton didn’t rush to Central America, though. Tuesday was the second birthday of his daughter, Petra. The Comptons celebrated with about 40 people at their home. (“I was in charge of setting up the trampoline,” he said.) He awoke about 4 a.m. Wednesday to catch a flight from Miami to Panama, then slept in his hotel room as his caddie walked the course.
The madcap travel plans didn’t seem to affect Compton’s play, either. He was tied for the lead heading into Sunday, but a final-round 75 dropped him into a share of fourth.