Let’s not bury the headline: Georgia alum and former Georgia Men’s Golf team member Gerry Leston Watson, Jr. won the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour Sunday.
This is the third victory of the PGA Tour season for Bubba (Watson seems superfluous), and the most unlikely. Bubba started the day 6 shots back of leader Paul Casey, who looked unbeatable after a 62 in Saturday’s third round, and who scored an unlikely birdie on his first hole Sunday. But Casey never pulled further away, and Bubba played steady on the front nine before ripping off 5 birdies on the closing nine to catch, and pass, Casey and everyone else. Bubba’s 63 gave him a 17 under par total, and posting that number in the clubhouse about 4 groups in front of Casey probably didn’t help Casey’s stress levels.
Maybe the most clutch shot was his short approach on the 18th hole. Going with driver off the tee, Bubba smashed one 368 yards and was left with a scant 77 yards into the par 4. But downwind with less than a full club, Bubba almost jarred it on the bounce and was left with a 2.5 footer for birdie and the outright lead. His caddie Ted Scott told him “that was the best shot you’ve ever hit.” Strong words considering Bubba is probably most well known for a hooked sand wedge in a playoff to win The Masters.
Bubba now has 12 career PGA Tour victories (3 of which coming at this course/tournament: 2010, 2015 and now 2018), and has moved to 3rd place in the season-long FedEx Cup race behind 2-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson. Bubba has also climbed back into the Ryder Cup race, and back into the top 20 in the world (rankings released tomorrow) after having fallen out of the top 100. He will garner serious votes for both Player of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year.
Bubba is quirky, mercurial, and marches to his own beat. He also has his golf game back (helped by a switch back to Titleist golf balls), is a multi-millionaire, and is now the only 3 time winner on the PGA Tour this season. We’ll have more later, but as always...