Mar
9
2012
Friday Tidbits at Doral: Feeding Frenzy for Bubba and Rose
By Stephanie Wei under WGC

It's all about the pink, baby.

Bubba Watson battled (if you can even call it that) the TPC Blue Monster and brought it to its knees in the second round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship. Watson, who teed off No. 10, fired off five birdies on his first nine for a five-under 31, and backed it up with another five-under 31 on the front side, including an eagle on the par-5 8th, to post a 10-under 62, matching his career low score on Tour.

 

Interestingly enough, Bubba hasn’t historically played well at Doral. If you look at his previous two starts here, he finished T59 at the 2006 Ford Championship at Doral and then in his only start once it became a WGC event, he placed 72nd in a 79-player field in 2009.

Bubba said the course hasn’t suited his eye in the past.

“(Doral) is tough for me,” said Bubba, who is 12-under through two rounds and leads Justin Rose by one.  “I’m not a big fan of No. 18.  I normally play it really bad.  Played it 1-under so far (this week). Just one of those things, I’ve been hitting the ball really well, carried over, made some putts today.

“I was just feeding off of Rosey and Mark (Wilson) played good, he shot 2-under around this golf course.  We all were just feeding off each other, having fun, joking around, picking on each other and somehow we made putts and at the end of the day we all shot a pretty good number.”

Bubba played with Rose and Wilson the past two days. Rose had the second-best round of the day, firing an eight-under 64, which usually would give you the lead at the end of the day. Poor Mark Wilson — he probably feels pretty beat up right now! No, he was happy for the guys and praised their fine play, saying it was probably collectively the best rounds of golf he’s seen.

“And watching the other guys, you’re not watching a guy struggle,” said Watson.  “You’re not watching a guy second guess himself.  You’re watching three guys that shot under par on the Blue Monster that were just playing good golf.  The joke, Mark said, was, ‘I shot 2-under and nobody cares.’  It’s funny, when you think about it; I didn’t think about what Rosey was shooting, and what Mark was shooting, but that’s pretty funny.  2-under yesterday was a good score.  But today Mark just happened to be playing with two guys who shot low.”

Rose didn’t feel like he fed off Watson as much.

“He was kind of trailing me a little bit, and then he had a great finish,” said Rose. “And then obviously — what’s the saying? — he took the booty, took the winnings.  But you can’t watch him, some of the lines he takes off tees can suck you into a false sense of security, some of the lines he takes off tees, he’s coiling off doglegs, and for me it’s not doable.

“So I think Mark Wilson was a lovely balance in the group to be honest with you, because Mark’s line is there, my line’s there and Bubba’s line is over here.  It was a great group, but two fun guys to play with, I think we all had a good time out there.”

Good thing Rose and Bubba are enjoying playing with each other because they’re paired together in the final group for the third round.

 

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Bubba is trying to work on his mental game this season, but he still doesn’t like this course — even after the 62 (though I don’t blame him. It has no character whatsoever). It’s no secret he’s his own worst enemy (aren’t all golfers? Bubba more so than others, probably because of his ADHD).

“I try to play mental tricks with myself,” he said. “20mph crosswind, it’s hard to let a cut go out there and that’s what I’m saying.  It’s hard for me, I’m fighting myself.  I still made birdie, but I mean, like yesterday I did the same thing yesterday and made par.  You know what I’m saying, so it’s just one of those things, it’s always a fight in my head, I have to trust it.  I’m not worrying about these other guys, I’m worrying about myself.  I’m fighting myself more than anybody else.”

Bubba slept funny the past few days and his right shoulder was bugging him. His trainer worked out the problem, though.

Another note of interest, which I’ll confirm tomorrow — Bubba is going house shopping in Orlando next week. He plans to move to Tiger Woods’ former gated community, Isleworth, where he’s already a member at the golf club.

Bubba’s wife Angie Watson usually travels with her husband, but she stayed back in Scottsdale this week to play in the women’s club championship at Estancia.

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Tiger Woods finally found his groove on Friday at Doral, posting a five-under 67. He trails Bubba by seven shots going into the weekend, but there’s still a lot of golf left.

“This is the highest score I could have shot out there today for sure,” Woods said. “It could have been pretty low today.”

Tiger had a(nother) good ballstriking day, which has been quite common lately — he’s ranked first in total driving — but once again, he didn’t make as many putts as he would have liked for the second day in a row.

“I don’t know, I hit pure putts,” Woods said. “I hit them right on my line, and they were just lipping out. I just have to be committed to what I’m doing and continue rolling it, because I’m hitting the putts on what I’m reading.”

Must be those painted greens.

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Meanwhile, I was in the scoring area for a few hours this afternoon, waiting for some players I needed to speak with about other stories.

I came across Butch Harmon when I was peaking at the NBC/Golf Channel TV set up for guys like Steve Sands, who interview the players afterward. Tiger was hitting his birdie putt on No. 7 or 8 and as he stroked it, I said, “He’s going to miss it.” At this point, I didn’t know Butch was there because I was standing behind him. He turned around and laughed, saying something about how people cheer against Tiger now. Well, kind of? That’s not what I was doing. I just didn’t expect it to go in because of how things have been going for him recently on the greens (with the exception of last Sunday at the Honda Classic).

I can’t remember why or if we even started talking about Hank Haney, but Butch brought up that he had recently received a text from Haney asking for his address so he could send him his book. Needless to say, Butch didn’t respond. Then another reporter and I made a joke suggesting that Butch could write his own tell-all. I mean, look at his stable of horses! He’s been the instructor to just about every big star out there at some point — Tiger, Phil, Dustin Johnson, Fred Couples, David Love III, Ernie Els, Greg Norman, etc. Of course, he shook his head, indicating that hell would freeze over before that happened.

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)