Bubba Watson’s U.S. Open tuneup could include hickory shafts

Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson’s U.S. Open tuneup could include hickory shafts

PGA Tour

Bubba Watson’s U.S. Open tuneup could include hickory shafts

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It appears that Bubba Watson plans to add a major championship to his June schedule.

Watson has been talking recently about playing in the National Hickory Championship, according to Jens Beck, his representative at Pro-Sport Management. The NHC will be played June 9-11 at Oakhurst Links in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. The Greenbrier owns Oakhurst Links and sponsors Watson, who has a home at The Greenbrier Sporting Club.

Beck said via email that Watson’s participation in the NHC is “definitely the plan,” adding that “I think it would be a blast.” But he left some wiggle room, saying it is not “100 percent yet.”

Greenbrier spokesman Cam Huffman subsequently wrote in an email, “Bubba Watson is playing in the National Hickory Tournament June 10-11.” (Practice rounds are June 9.)

The NHC was established in 1998 and celebrates golf as it was played before the turn of the century – the 20th century, that is. Players use 19th-century equipment, play by rules that were in force in 1891 and commonly wear clothing reminiscent of that era. (Perhaps Oakley, Watson’s apparel sponsor, could whip up some spiffy knickers for the occasion.) Oakhurst, a nine-holer that opened in 1884 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a natural host site for the event.

Leave it to the enigmatic Watson (he is a southpaw, after all), a two-time Masters champion and the No. 4-ranked player in the world, to consider such an unusual tuneup for the U.S. Open the following week at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club.

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