Bubba Watson finally wins another tournament
Bubba Watson was able to overcome a host of quality contenders on Sunday at Riviera to win the 2014 Northern Trust Open.
The final group of Charlie Beljan, George McNeill and William McGirt were given very little chance by most people coming into Sunday’s final round at Riviera, and apparently those people were correct. With a stacked leaderboard of big names chasing, including Watson, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel, Jordan Spieth and Monday qualifier Jason Allred, the leaders quickly faded and made way for the star attractions.
Watson led most of the way through the back nine after getting within four shots on Saturday with a third round 64. Johnson was within one for a good chunk of the back nine, but couldn’t close the gap at any point, while Spieth and Schwartzel fell further out of contention. Allred and Brian Harman, who played with Watson, kept it respectable, but Watson was too good down the stretch. With two putts needed to close the tournament, Watson stepped up on 18 and finished it off with just one.
Which made his son Caleb very happy:
- 1. Bubba Watson -15 (64)
- 2. Dustin Johnson -13 (66)
- T3. Jason Allred -12 (68)
- T3. Brian Harman -12 (68)
- 5. Charl Schwartzel -11 (68)
What The Win Means For Watson
It’s the first win for Watson since he was able to beat Louis Oosthuizen in the 2012 Masters playoff, so you know that this is a big deal for him, and he was able to do it once again from behind. This is the fifth win for Watson in his PGA Tour career, and the fourth that saw him trailing entering the final round.
For someone with as much talent as Watson, you’d think that he’d have more than five wins at this point in his career, but consistency has been a major issue, especially since he was able to win that green jacket. Going into last season, Watson was considered a lock for Fred Couples’ Presidents Cup team, but he wasn’t playing well enough to make it on points and was never even mentioned as a consideration for a captains pick. Now in a Ryder Cup year, you know that Watson is going to want to make enough of an impression on American captain Tom Watson so he doesn’t get left out again.
Getting back in the winners circle is a big deal for him and for golf as well. Jason Sobel mentioned this on Sunday:
Yes, he has rabbit ears. Yes, he berates caddie Ted Scott more frequently than most players. But, he’s also a character in a game that doesn’t have many of them to begin with. Plus, you know, he’s pretty damn entertaining as a player, especially when he’s hammering the ball off the tee and moving it around every which way possible. The game is simply better with him in a prominent position.
Nothing much I can add to that.
Story Of The Week
He didn’t win, but Allred getting into the tournament via the Monday qualifier and then firing a second round 64, followed by a great weekend is exactly the kind of result that keeps players like him going. We often think of professional golfers as these guys who have an endless supply of money who get to play at all of these pampered sites around the world, but Allred is part of a far greater majority of tour pros who are just hoping to have that one week that can make the difference in their careers. With his top-10, Allred is going to be able to play in the Honda Classic in two weeks time.
Shots Of The Tournament
- Other notable finishes: Harris English (T10), K.J. Choi and Jordan Spieth (T12), Keegan Bradley, Lee Westwood and Jimmy Walker (T20), Kevin Stadler, Jim Furyk, Hideki Matsuyama and Bill Haas (T23), Geoff Ogilvy (T29), Ernie Els and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (T35), Justin Rose, Scott Stallings and Vijay Singh (T45), Angel Cabrera and Hunter Mahan (T52), Ian Poulter (T59), Retief Goosen and Jason Dufner (T65), Webb Simpson and Graham DeLaet (T70) and Pat Perez (75th).
- Notables to miss the cut: Fred Couples, Rickie Fowler, Ryan Moore, Nicolas Colsaerts, Thorbjorn Olesen, Brendon de Jonge, Joost Luiten, John Merrick, Padraig Harrington, Charles Howell III, Ryo Ishikawa, Brian Gay, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar and David Toms.
- Injury report: Darren Clarke (WD – re-injured chest muscle) and Scott Verplank (WD – chest)
- John Peterson was disqualified after the opening round because he didn’t return to the course on Friday to finish his last hole. He was 4-over through 17 when play was halted on Thursday due to darkness, and he explained to his followers on Twitter that he couldn’t make it to the course due to not feeling well on Friday morning.
- Matt Kuchar was the current holder of the PGA Tour made cut streak, but that ended this week at 30.
- Fred Couples, a two-time winner of the event, was named as an ambassador for the tournament this week, taking over a role that Jerry West once occupied. Couples said on Saturday’s broadcast that his job will be to try and lure big names to the event. Never count out the pull that Couples has, but he’s fighting an uphill battle I’d think, even with the appeal that Riviera brings.
- Steve Stricker wasn’t in the field this week, but he did make news when he announced that his brother was doing well after surgery, meaning that Stricker would be attending the Match Play next week. So, no other changes will be made to the field at Dove Mountain.