If you’re the kind of person that thinks watching golf is boring, then you’ve obviously never seen Bubba Watson in action.
The two-time Masters champion kept fans on the edge of their seats out in the Far East during the final three holes of the WGC-HSBC Champions held at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China last weekend.
Watson supplied the crowd with nail-biting moments of angst and suspense toward the end of the tournament, just before delivering an incredible bunker shot with on the 18th hole that put him right back in contention for the title. The victory that followed also catapulted Watson into the No. 3 position in the world, according to Official World Golf Ranking’s website.
So, what led to the 36-year-old pro’s first World Golf Championship win? Let’s recap all of the excitement that encompassed the last leg of the HSBC Champions.
Forgetting Can Be A Good Thing
It’s not uncommon for golfers – professionals and amateurs alike – to have a difficult time coming off of a bad hole. Sometimes all it takes is a poor performance on a single hole to initiate a chain of unfortunate events that can follow a golfer throughout the rest of his or her round.
Not the case with Bubba Watson. Proving that he can take a beating on the course, brush his shoulders off and start anew on the next hole has been one of the hallmarks of Watson’s career, and last weekend’s final round in Shanghai was no exception.
Watson got off to a rough start of the HSBC Champions’ final round, shooting bogey on the 1st hole, a 459-yard par 4. Not letting the leading hole get the best of him, he bounced back with a birdie on the 2nd. Watson went on to repeat this pattern throughout the final round, bogeying on the 5th hole, then following it up with a birdie on the 6th.
Wash, rinse, repeat; so goes Watson’s modus operandi.
The back nine was no different for the left-handed sensation, as Watson kept the crowd holding their breath by posting another bogey on the 13th, just before allowing them to breathe a synchronous sigh of relief by shooting birdie on the 14th. By the 16th hole, Bubba Watson was in possession of a two-shot lead with only three holes left in the game. Apparently a comfortable finish like that would have been unbecoming.
Watson bogeyed yet another hole, and then posted a double bogey on the 17th before walking onto the last hole of the tournament a single shot behind five other players: Tim Clark, Rickie Fowler, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Hiroshi Iwata.
As the 18th played out, things were looking good for Tim Clark, who sank a 4-foot putt for birdie, and not so good for the other four players that started the hole in contention: Both Rickie Fowler and Martin Kaymer lost out to the water hazard on the 18th, while McDowell and Iwata both shot par for the hole.
Even though Watson appeared to be struggling toward the end of his round, he wasn’t about to let his mistakes on the last two holes carry over into the final stretch. On his third shot of the 18th hole, with his Titlist golf ball resting comfortably in the sand and posing no clear threat to Clark’s potential victory, Watson sank an incredible greenside bunker shot to eagle the hole, sending both players into a playoff hole that Watson ultimately won.
Watson’s first World Golf Championship win proves that, when the pressure is on, he can perform. His ability to forget about previous blunders and questionable decisions while tackling every subsequent hole as if it were a fresh start is an ability that is the envy of golfers around the world.
Congratulations, Bubba Watson, on your first World Golf Championship win. You certainly took fans around the world on one suspenseful ride.