Bubba Watson was close to retiring before regaining his mojo to secure a third Genesis Open triumph and set himself up nicely for trying to emulate that feat in this year’s Masters.
The left-hander broke down in years after repeating his 2014 and 2016 victories at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles on Sunday, having been on the brink of packing in the game last season as he slipped outside the world’s top 100.
“It was the lowest point I’ve been at in the game of golf,” he admitted. “The last year and a half, almost two years, it’s been a struggle because I want to be at the top.”
Asked about possible retirement, he added: “I was close. My wife was not close. My wife basically told me to quit whining and play golf. She’s a lot tougher than I am.”
Watson claimed his tenth PGA Tour triumph by signing off with a two-under 69 as he finished two shots ahead of two of his compatriots, Kevin Na and Tony Finau, with Martin Laird finishing as the leading British player in joint ninth.
“It means a lot as my goal was always to get to ten wins,” added Watson, who used the confidence gained from winning the same event in 2014 to claim a second Green Jacket after winning for the first time at Augusta National in 2012.
“There’s so many emotions going around my head right now. You never know if you’re going to play good again, you never know if you’re going to be able to lift a trophy again. But obviously God’s given me a gift to play golf and I’m not good at anything else.”
Meanwhile, a fitting tribute is being paid to Barrie Douglas, a popular figure in Scottish amateur golf who passed away last year. Raising funds to help up-and-coming players in the home of golf, the inaugural Barrie Douglas Scottish Junior Masters will be staged at Blairgowrie on 27-29 April and is open to boys under 18.
“Barrie did so much for boys’ golf, in particular, in Scotland, so I thought it would be a great tribute to run a tournament in his honour,” said Spencer Henderson, Scottish Golf’s national boys’ coach and a driving force behind the event being launched.