1. Bubba Watson’s win at the Genesis Open was his first PGA Tour victory since he captured the same tournament in 2016. It also ended a strange drought for the lefthander who had his worst season on the tour in 2017. He finished the year in 75th spot on the FedEx Cup points list, the lowest of his career, posting just four top-10s. He also missed the cut in three of the four majors.
There were mysteries as to why his game had suddenly gone south. He incurred some type of sickness, which he refuses to name, and watched his weight drop from 201 to 165 pounds.
And there was his switch to the Volvik ball, which many believe may have led to the slide in his play. Watson signed a multi-year deal in January 2017 but in November at the tournament in Las Vegas, he mysteriously announced he was without a ball deal. He’s played the Titleist Pro V1x since.
Watson said things got so bad with his game, he seriously considered retiring because he simply wasn’t enjoying the sport. His wife, Angie, wasn’t having any of it.
“My wife was not close,” said Watson. “My wife basically told me to quit whining and play golf. She's a lot tougher than I am.”
Seems she was right and things are all right again for Bubba.
2. Speaking of Watson, what a week he had in Los Angeles. And I’m not talking about his golf game.
When he wasn’t hitting shots with his pink Ping driver, Watson was playing in the NBA All-Star celebrity game, sinking two shots from the foul line but also getting a shot blocked by former Toronto Raptor Tracy McGrady and throwing up an air ball.
He also slipped out to tape a show with Jay Leno, hung out with Ellen DeGeneres and watched a taping of The Big Bang Theory.
Watson says getting away from the course helps distract him from thinking negative thoughts about his golf game.
3. Some left-handed trivia for all the portsiders out there. Watson’s victory made it the first time in PGA Tour history that two different lefties won in consecutive weeks. Last week it was Ted Potter Jr. at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
4. Adam Hadwin put together a solid weekend with back-to-back rounds of 66 that moved him into a tie for sixth at the Genesis Open. This coming after he made the cut on the number.
Hadwin’s finish vaulted him up the world ranking into 50th spot, up 10 places since the start of the year. It also likely means that he’ll earn a spot in the World Golf Championship-Dell Technologies Match Play in March. The top 64 golfers advance to that event and Hadwin, who was sitting in 57th spot before last week, was in that bubble area.
5. So what was the difference between the first two rounds at Riviera and the two on the weekend for Hadwin? Just look to the Strokes Gained: Approach the Green stat and you can see a significant part of the answer. In the first two rounds, Hadwin was in the negative with marks of -0.113 and -0.214, meaning he was losing ground to the field in that part of the game. On the weekend, however, he improved with marks of 2.107 and 2.906 on Saturday and Sunday respectively. That means he was two and almost three shots better than the field. Hitting more greens is essential for Hadwin as it gives him the chance to use the best club in his bag, his putter. He ended the week sixth in putting.
6. Phil Mickelson continues to look for his first PGA Tour win since 2013 and signs are he’s getting closer.
Lefty’s tie for sixth at the Genesis Open marked his third consecutive top-10 finish coming on the heels of his tie for fifth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and a tie for fifth the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. It’s also the first time since 2007 that he’s had three consecutive starts inside the top six.
Had he won at Riviera, it would have been his 43rd PGA Tour victory and would have come 27 years, one month and eight days since his first tour win on Jan. 10, 1991.
7. The 10th at Riviera has confounded golfers for years, tempting them to try and drive the 301-yard hole but not giving them much in the way of opportunity if they miss. So how many golfers went for it and managed to stay on the putting surface off the tee? There were 439 shots from the tee over the four days and 309 of those were attempts to reach the green. Only 11 actually came to rest on the putting surface.
8. That wasn’t a mistake you saw on the LPGA leaderboard – Brooke Henderson did indeed miss the cut at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. It was just the fourth missed cut for the Canadian since she joined the LPGA Tour as a full-time player in 2016.
Henderson will have a chance to get four rounds in this week when she plays the Honda LPGA Thailand.
9. Line of the Week – Dustin Johnson on why he’s rented a different house for this year’s Masters:
“It just got bad juju,” he said of the old one, “so I’m not going there.”