by Jeff Skinner
Sometimes this game is a lot like life; you never know what’s going to happen next. That was the case at The Travelers Championship yesterday when the Justin Rose fell apart and Bubba Watson came from six strokes back to win his first ever professional golf tournament.
Rose had led by three at the start of the final round and had played marvelous golf all week. Three bogeys over the first ten holes on Sunday let the field back into the hunt. When Rose pulled his driver into the water on the drivable 15th hole his day was done and he went from first to a tie for ninth as he ballooned to a 75 for the final round.
Watson, playing an up and down back nine which included five birdies, one bogey and a double bogey needed a birdie on the eighteenth to get in the playoff. He got it and the longest hitter on tour proceeded to a playoff with the shortest hitter, Cory Pavin and one of the nicest, Scott Verplanck.
Pavin passed up the Champions Tour this week to get an up close look at his picks for the Ryder Cup and nearly walked away with a victory. You never know what can happen in this game. As it was, Pavin got a real good look at Bubba’s first win on the PGA Tour.
After Pavin dropped out on the first playoff hole, Watson needed a three foot putt on the second playoff hole to win. After the putt dropped, Watson felt the relief and joy of his first win and the tears flowed as he couldn’t control his emotions. It has been a difficult year for Watson off the course and this win finally gets the tour’s longest driver into the win column.
“I’m a very emotional guy,” he said. “I cry all the time. When I go to church on Sunday, I cry at church. I couldn’t get the ‘Yes’ out of ‘I do’ at my wedding. The pastor said, ‘You got to say it. You can’t just nod. You can’t nod.’
“Everybody has issues. My family had some issues. My dad is battling cancer. My wife last year thought she had a tumor in her brain. We got lucky with that one, and now, we’re battling with my dad. It’s emotional.”