Bubba Watson’s lay up strategy will be tested at Pinehurst No. 2
By Bernie D'Amato under US Open


Bubba Watson is playing Pinehurst No. 2 for the first time, and he plans on hitting a lot of fairways, “I think it’s funny, me and my caddie or maybe more me, but you can’t define where the fairways are, so I guess this week I can hit a lot of fairways because we can’t define if it’s on the fairway or not. So that’s pretty good for me.”

On a more serious note, Bubba will be hitting a lot of fairways because he plans to lay up from the tee box, “It’s a second shot golf course, the greens are so difficult. There [are] a lot of times I’m going to be laying back, I’m going to have 200-plus yards into par-4s. But all-in-all it’s a good challenge. It’s a good test. That’s what we want. We want a good test and a good challenge.”

With four par-4s measuring over 500 yards, Pinehurst No. 2 will be an extremely difficult golf course. Watson said the 16th hole (528-yard Par-4) is one of the toughest holes out there, “Yesterday, I hit a drive [on 16] to about 295 off the tee, dead center of the fairway. I had 247 to the hole. It’s a par-4. So for me to hit a driver and me have a 3-iron into a par-4, it’s a fun golf course.”

Watson added that the course challenges you mentally, “So it wears you down. It wears you down mentally. Because, again, you can’t look at scores, you have to look at what’s the best way to attack that hole. And attack, when I say attack, I don’t mean attack the pin. I mean maybe miss the green over here to the right so you can chip up and make an easy par or an easier par.”

Watson’s best U.S. Open performance was at Oakmont in 2007. He finished T5, and spoke about calling his father after the tournament, “So it was something I’ll always remember. The U.S. Open is always that, I got to call my dad on Father’s Day that we’re going to the Masters.”

Maybe this Sunday will be another special Father’s Day for Watson because he has a lot of experience playing out of “native areas.” He said, “But native areas, it’s funny, I was talking to — I’ve got a friend, Randall Wells, here — me, Boo Weekley, Heath Slocum, we grew up at a golf course called Tanglewood in Milton Florida, looks like the same golf course I grew up on, a lot of pine trees, sand everywhere. We don’t call it natural area, we call it not very good conditions where I grew up. So I’m used to hitting out of sand and hard pan with, again, we call it weeds where I grew up. So playing out of that stuff, I’m used to that. So when I’m in there I’m actually comfortable. I’ve grown up playing golf that way.”

If Bubba’s game plan of laying up from the tee works, he will not need to worry about the native areas. Instead, he will have all his attention on the greens, “So those pins around the bunker or up on a mound are not really friendly. I don’t know about your game, but my game, I just can’t hit the 4-iron with a little spin on it and stop it close to the pin. I don’t think it’s unfair, I think it’s a different mindset of golf. I think it’s just…I don’t play chess, but it’s again, it’s a chess match, you have to play to a certain spot and hopefully 2-putt from 60 feet or just off the green, get up-and-down to get your par and then try to attack on another hole.”

–Bernie D’Amato (@bdamato711)