Bubba Watson won his third Travelers Championship title with a final-round 63 to finish at 17-over par 263, three shots clear of a foursome which included overnight leader Paul Casey (74), Stewart Cink (62), J.B. Holmes (67), and Beau Hossler (66).
The win was Watson’s 12th career PGA Tour victory, and third of the season. And with three titles at TPC River Highlands, Gerry Lester “Bubba” Watson, Jr. trails only the great Billy Casper (4) in career wins.
After becoming the Tour’s first three-time winner in 2018 (Genesis Open, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play), Watson met with the media to take some questions. Here’s a round up of four of the best from the Q & A session.
COMFORT LEVEL AT TPC RIVER HIGHLANDS
You’ve won 12 times and you’re not done. Three of your 12 wins are right here. Are there just courses like this that you just see certain holes like this as perfect for me more than other places?
WATSON: Yeah, for sure. Earlier this year I had won in L.A. for my third win in L.A. Now I just need one more in Augusta and that would be great. Get a different jacket. I like this jacket, don’t get me wrong. I love this. I’ve got a few of them.
But, yeah, there are certain places that we’ve built our schedule, everybody builds their schedule around places they’ve seen, loved, the atmosphere, all of that comes into play. Around here there are a lot of driver holes where I can hit some drivers and shape it. There are a lot of guys, a lot of guys that are starting to come.
Jordan came last year when he won, and he said, “Bubba, anywhere you play good that’s where I want to play, because I think I can play where you can play.” I don’t know if that was a dig or what, but he backed it up with a win.
Yeah, it’s one of those things where it just fits our eye. You can see the fairway. You can see the shape of the holes and the greens are always in great shape, so it’s fun.
OVERCOMING MEDIOCRE FIRST ROUND
70, there is nothing wrong with shooting even par first round. But still already got 7 back. How do you say, look, did you know you had to go real low round two or what is your mindset if par and people are 6 or 7 shots ahead of you, Bubba?
WATSON: Well, it’s funny. Teddy — I sent Teddy — I love voice texting. I can’t spell so I voice text. So I sent him a voice text so he has to hear my voice. I sent him a voice text yesterday and I apologized. I said my attitude was not where it needed to be. It needed to be better than that.
So I apologized to him yesterday. Because the first day I was pretty much miserable thinking about shooting 70 out here where I feel like this is my home course. I can play golf around here. So I gave away a lot of shots mentally. He could see it, and he just kept on saying, don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it.
Then his text back to me, he can spell, so he actually text back instead of voice text, but he text me back — had to get my wife to read it — but it just said keep your head down. You’re playing great. Let’s just have fun out there tomorrow and see what happens. That’s what we did today.
I’m going to interrupt the story. But on 16 a few years ago somebody was angry again on 16, hit it in the water. So today it was a little into us, but I was pumped up. I just fist pumped, and I said are you thinking 8-iron? Chip this 8-iron and draw it in there and he said yes. We’re not hitting 9-iron. He goes, no. I don’t care where the ball goes, we’re not hitting 9-iron. I said but this time I would hit it lower. We’d have gotten there. And he said, no, we’re not hitting 9.
It was easy after I hit my 8-iron on the green. So it was our little joke and kept us in the moment where we were supposed to be.
NEW SEASON, NEW BUBBA
That attitude after even par round on the first. All of us have a bad attitude when we shoot a 70. Three wins this year, I mean, it’s just the first week of summer. What is the difference?
WATSON: Just last year I lost, give or take, 25 pounds, sickness. So fighting back, getting the strength back and the energy back, getting the mental focus and not feeling sorry for myself, all these things, getting it all back.
Having a team that loves me. Getting, like we talked about, we bought a Prevost bus, an RV, camper, whatever you call it. So our kids now with bunk beds, we love it.
There was another funny story, not that you all care. But J.B. Holmes was having a chance to tie me to win the golf tournament today, and he said he was pulling for J.B. Our buses are right next to each other, and he has his dog with him named Ace.
Who Caleb and the kids love playing with Ace. He said, I’m pulling for J.B. I said, because of his dog or because of J.B.? And he didn’t answer. But I think it’s because of his dog. But it’s funny, because now we’re like a group. There’s four of us this week with RVs.
RYDER CUP TALK
Sort of based on that, you now have three wins — first player with three wins this year, and you should be a lock for the Ryder Cup team. What does that all mean for you going forward?
WATSON: I still says in my phone that Jim hasn’t texted me yet. So I’d really like for him to say I’m going to pick you no matter what.
No, it means a lot. That’s always the goal. To win a golf tournament and to make a team. Being a U.S. player, there is always a team every year, right? It’s a thrilling time. My whole dream was to get ten wins, if somehow I could get ten wins. I didn’t think it was possible to get ten wins. Then I get ten wins and now I’ve got two more.
Olympic day was what, yesterday? And so, talking about the Olympics coming up, that’s motivating me. It was the best experience of my life to watch all the other events, and then the golf tournament got in the way.
I’d love to do it again. I’d love to watch all the events and have to play golf as well. So there’s a lot of things that factor in. This win, the confidence. I know it’s a couple years away, but I’d love to have a chance to make the Olympic team again. Yeah, the motivation is I’ve never won a Ryder Cup, so making the Ryder Cup team and trying to win a Ryder Cup as a player would be another tournament victory to me. Would be a major championship to me just because I’ve never done it, never been a part of it. Then being over there — it would be — you’d rather do it at home, but it would be fun anywhere you can get a victory.