Watson: Still bouncing back from illness
DORAL, Fla. We're only two months into the year, but it's already been a trying one for Bubba Watson. He finished fourth at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions despite having strep throat, then withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open with the flu. He's played three times since then, finishing 15th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, missing the cut at the Northern Trust Open and advancing to the Round of 16 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play. He arrives at Doral for the WGC-Cadillac Championship after a week off.
"I've lost some weight, lost energy, lost a lot of things," Watson said. "(I'm) trying to get the weight back and trying to get the little bit of muscle that I had back. I'm feeling better. I hit the ball better at the Match Play, still lost but I played well, so I'm looking forward to the rest of the year now hopefully."
Watson said his illnesses led to some bad habits in his swing.
"I was getting lazy and my swing was coming inside, I was coming over the top and I was doing all these crazy things where I was hitting shots I'm not used to hitting, like way off the planet," he said. "So for me I'm trying to get back, I try to eat different, try to gain some weight, try to get in the gym a little bit, just try to get my energy level back and my weight back so I can hit the normal shots I normally hit."
Watson finished second at last year's Cadillac Championship, one shot back of winner Justin Rose. Watson had a three-shot lead after 54 holes here last year, but shot a final-round 74. Watson hit a 4-iron from the rough to 9 feet on the final hole, but missed the birdie putt.
"The shot was one of my better shots, especially under that kind of pressure," he said.
Of course, he executed an even more memorable shot a few weeks later at Augusta National's 10th hole — where he curved a gap wedge out of trees right of the fairway to defeat Louis Oosthuizen in a sudden-death playoff at the Masters.
Watson will play the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Tavistock Cup before his title defense at Augusta National.