QBE Shootout: Bubba Watson says his game is just fine

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QBE Shootout: Bubba Watson says his game is just fine

Golf

QBE Shootout: Bubba Watson says his game is just fine

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Bubba Watson is not finished nor is he wallowing in golf purgatory, or even remotely disturbed about the status of his game.

The reports from the critics or golf nerds on social media, noticing he is nowhere near Australia and the Presidents Cup this week, are running the gamut on what and why is wrong with the popular Watson.

Watson, while being besieged for autographs at Tiburón Golf Club after the QBE Shootout pro-am, delivered what amounted to a stern “state of Bubba’s golf game” message.

“The critics and social media are very premature with my situation and they just continue to make up stories,” said Watson, who lives near Pensacola and is involved with numerous business ventures in the Florida Panhandle.

“I didn’t win a tournament this past year so everyone says that’s it for a 41-year-old. I plan on winning again as soon as next year.”

QBE SHOOTOUT: Round 2 tee times, TV info

What prompted the growing chorus of concern about the two-time Masters winner was a year when he missed six cuts, had only three top-10 finishes, saw him drop to his current World Ranking of 41, and 81st in the FedEx Cup standings.

“People forget I won three times in 2018 and was ranked just out of the top 10 in the World Ranking at the end of the year,” said Watson, making his fifth appearance in the QBE Shootout.

Fueling additional speculation on his status was Watson not being a captain’s pick for the Presidents Cup team or even a vice-captain, a position he served at the 2016 Ryder Cup.

“I told Tiger at his tournament in the Bahamas last week that I’m probably way down the alternate’s or vice-captain’s list and I joked with him that I might hole up on the plane and show up at Royal Melbourne,” he said. “I do have a lot of confidence that I have the leadership skills to be helpful with team events.

“I enjoy helping, even if it’s just getting a team member a sandwich or a bottle of water. I still view being selected as a captain for a team event a Hall of Fame moment, an honor and privilege. Now other considerations have come into the selection process like trying to get the right people for TV ratings.”

While Watson is focused on getting back closer to the top or into a team event, he has a good reason to be happy when he comes home.

“In the old days there was a special feel when they selected you, but today the only thing I feel special about is having a wonderful wife and two great kids,” he said. “I would give up my two green jackets for their happiness.”

Watson joked that he would be a different captain, especially with a player like Tiger Woods.

“I would tell Tiger ‘You’ve won 82 times, just sit here and eat ice cream,’” he said.

Watson is teamed up with Charles Howell III. They shot a first-round 13-under 59. They are four back of Harold Varner III and Ryan Palmer, who tied the tournament mark with a 55.

Ace for Hoffman

Charley Hoffman was planning on an expensive post round cocktail hour after making a hole on the 207-yard par-3 12th hole with a 6-iron.

“I played the shot high in the air to the right and then let it come back in,” Hoffman said. “It landed soft and Kevin told me it rolled right in.”
Partner Kevin Kisner was waiting to start the celebration.

“He owes me some drinks starting right now upstairs,” Kisner said.

Hoffman’s partner last year, Gary Woodland, made a hole in one on the eighth hole.

“Neither one of us won a car,” Hoffman said. The ace was his fifth in PGA Tour competition and the 15th overall.

OSU coach watches Hovland, Wolff

Oklahoma State coach Alan Bratton followed former players Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff during the first round on Friday.

“You never know how you’re going to do out here,” Bratton said in an interview with Golf Channel’s Billy Ray Brown. “I know they would end up out here eventually, but I’m just really proud of the performance that they’ve had so far. Hopefully their career looks like this and just keeps taking off.

“We had Viktor for three years prepping him, whether it was Coach (Donnie) Darr and I, and all of our former players. It’s nice, OSU has four of the 24 players this week. They’ve had plenty of mentoring. They’ve been set free now, and they’re ready to take on the world. And hopefully they keep doing what they’re doing.”

The proteges didn’t do something they’d like to keep doing Friday, shooting a 7-under 65 and sitting in last place.

“We hit it good today but made no putts,” Wolff said. “This was my first scramble ever in competition but we’ve got two days left so we need to put up some low numbers.”

Greg Hardwig contributed to this article.

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