Bubba Watson wins 10th PGA Tour title at Genesis Open


Bubba Watson picked up his third Genesis Open title with a two-shot victory over Kevin Na at Riviera, ending a two year droubt for his 10th PGA Tour win. 

Watson admitted that he was close to giving up on golf as he battled with health issues and a loss of form over the past two years, but he decided to continue on his quest to reach his goal of 10 PGA Tour titles.

On Sunday, at a venue where he won previously in 2014 and 2016, three birdies in his final eight holes helped seal a two stroke victory and that magic number 10. 

"It's unbelievable," Watson said. 

Finding himself one over at the turn, overnight leader Bubba Watson was left needing to create some magic if he was to regain control of the ever-changing leaderboard on Sunday. 

An impressive up and down from the sand on the 11th for birdie was followed by the turning point on the 14th, where after finding the greenside bunker with his second, Watson holed out for birdie to put him back in the driving seat. And it turns out he called it. 

When playing partner Cameron Smith told Watson the next bathroom was on the next hole and they could wait a couple of shots before going, Watson told Smith he was 'just going to hole it and then go straight to the bathroom'. 

Watson's caddie Ted Scott seemed to be in the same frame of mind, telling Watson when discussing strategy: "Man, you haven't holed a bunker shot in a while." 

After the shot, Watson pointed to his caddie and said 'You called it', before Smith came over to remind him that actually 'No, you called it.'

A further birdie from Watson on the 17th would give him a two shot advantage over the rest of the field, and a tap-in par for 69 on the 18th secured his 10th PGA Tour win - and third at Riviera. 

"To do it twice was amazing, and then have a chance on the back nine on Sunday to do it again, and then to pull it off, that's very special.

"My goal has always been to get 10 wins, and there are so many emotions going through my head right now," added the left-hander, even admitting that he had come close to retiring when he was suffering through health issues and a loss in form.  

"You never know if you're going to play good again, and you never know if you're going to lift the trophy. I thought about retirement, and I mentioned it about 10 to 12 times to my wife. We sat down and had many talks about it because physically I wasn't ready to play.

"I was close. My wife was not close." he said. "My wife basically told me to quit whining and play golf. I was focusing on the wrong things. You know, pitiful me, not on how beautiful my life was."

But he also made it clear that he is not going to be putting away his clubs any time soon. 

"You have to remember, my goal was very simple: make the PGA Tour. When you get to the Tour, you want to win," he said. "Double-digit wins? I am thrilled. Nobody thought Bubba Watson from Bagdad, Florida, could ever get to 10 wins. Let's be honest. No lessons. Head case. Hooking the ball. Slicing the ball. Can't putt. Somehow we're here."

"I have to set a new goal," he added.

It was a week of wins for Watson, who finished his second round at Riviera and then headed to the Staples Centre to play in the NBA Celebrity All-Star game, where his team won 75-66. Earlier in the week Watson had said he'd consider dropping out of the tournament if it meant he could make the NBA game, but it turns out he was able to play in both - and we imagine he's glad he didn't give up the day job prematurely on Friday. 

Finishing behind Watson were Kevin Na and Tony Finau, sharing second place on 10-under-par. Na was left to lament on his back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th holes, while Finau would rue two three-putts on his opening nine holes. 

Patrick Cantlay held the lead after the first 11 holes but bogeys on the 12th and 13th ultimately cost him, leaving him in a share of 4th with Scott Stallings. 

Fan favourite Phil Mickleson got to within one-shot by the 14th hole, but back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes dropped him back in to a share of 6th with Adam Hadwin and Cameron Smith. 

Jordan Smith, Xander Schauffele, Martin Laird, Ryan Moore and Justin Thomas made up the rest of the top 10, tied for 9th at 7-under-par. 

WITB Bubba Watson

Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 degrees)

5 Wood: Ping G400 (17.5 degrees)

Hybrid: Ping G (19 degrees)

Irons: Ping iBlade (2), Ping S55 (4-PW)

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (52-12 SS, 56-12 SS, 60-06 TS)

Putter: Ping Anser 303SS