Bubba Watson won his third LA Open shooting a final-round 69 to secure a two-shot victory over Kevin Na and Tony Finau. It ended a two-year drought for Watson, whose last win came at the 2016 LA Open. Watson spent his week touring the town, taking in shows and even competing in the NBA All-Star Weekend's celebrity game. Watson's unique style of play and polarizing personality add to the entertainment factor on Tour. Full scores
The two-year drought was a rocky road for Watson. His world ranking slipped from 4th to 117th, he was left off the Ryder Cup team as the 7th-ranked player in the world, he had a failed endorsement deal with Volvik, a pescatarian diet and even considered retirement. It's fitting that this win gives Bubba ten for his career, the number he once said he would retire at.
Why Bubba plays well at Riviera?
The vast majority of PGA Tour courses are boring. Riviera is a course that offers angles and options for play that are interesting, and these angles create a venue that showcases Bubba's ability to curve the ball either way. The majority of holes require players to find a certain side of the fairway to attack the flag. Bubba can overcome that by shaping the ball into flags, replicating an approach from an ideal angle.
A look at the leaderboard shows a rare sight, variety. It's so refreshing to see one of the Tour's shortest players, Kevin Na, coming down the stretch with a chance to win. In the hunt with Na were all-around players like Cantlay and Stallings, as well as power players like Watson and Finau. Great golf course design allows a wide range of players to win. Too many of the PGA Tour setups are too heavily weighted towards power. Riviera is about hitting shots to positions that set up angles, not about how far and straight you can hit a driver.
Rethinking the 10th
One of the most talked about holes on Tour is Riviera's short par-4 10th. In its current state, it’s a very good hole. Looking back at the original George Thomas design, it might have been a great hole. I dove into the current hole and what a restoration to the original could look like.
Red hot run
Thanks to finding 10 yards with his driver in the off-season, Phil Mickelson earned his third straight top-6 finish. With the added distance, Phil has a chance to win week in and week out for the first time in years. Skratch posted a video of Phil's warm-up routine, which includes friend of the fried egg, SuperSpeed Golf’s training aids. One of my very first articles detailed the upstart company's unique idea and training system.
Missing the weekend
Tiger Woods missed the 18th cut of his career after shooting a second-round 76. A birdie on his 10th hole during Friday's round put him inside the cut line, but he then bogeyed 11-14 to fall back outside. Friday's round was a combination of poor ball-striking and putting.
During his tough second round, Tiger's team committed him to this week's Honda Classic. The commitment makes sense as Tiger's home is a few minutes from PGA National. From a golf course standpoint, it couldn't be worse given Tiger's loose ball-striking. PGA National is brutally difficult, and if his wayward driver and iron play don't improve, scores could be ugly at PGA National.
Patrick Cantlay registered a t4th, his fifth top-10 finish since coming back from his injury.
Jordan Spieth finished in a tie for 9th but seemed to find his stride with the flat stick. Spieth gained 3.6 shots on the putting green after struggling in recent events.
After opening his title defense with a 74, Dustin Johnson thrust himself into contention with a tournament-best Saturday 64. Johnson failed to keep the hot hand, faltering Saturday with a 74.
Bubba got his weak layup swatted by T-Mac during the celebrity game.
Beyond the 10th, I also put together renderings of the 13th and 15th on Twitter.
The Yolk with Doak
The latest edition of the Yolk with Doak is up. In part II of the Renaissance Golf, George Thomas and Bel-Air CC episode, Tom and his associates Eric Iverson, Brian Schneider, Blake Conant and Kye Goalby discuss the career of George Thomas and his Bel-Air design. Listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and the website.
The Joost is loose
Neatherland's native Joost Luiten captured his sixth career European title, outplaying Chris Wood to win the NBO Oman Open. Luiten fired a final-round 68 to secure a two-shot win over Wood. It was Luiten's first win since 2016 and will move him back into contention for a spot in the top 50 of the world rankings and an invitation to the Masters.
The Augusta Chronical announced some new changes to the Masters host, Augusta National. A new tee box and bunkering would be added to the 455-yard, par-4 fifth. The new tee box would stretch back roughly 20-30 yards and also help with the flow of spectators from the fourth green. Augusta continues to show that it will continue to embrace the distance debate by buying land and lengthening the golf course.
Over the next couple of weeks, Zac Blair and I will be determining the country's best golf course logo through a 64-logo bracket. Each day we will post a couple of matchups on Twitter and Instagram, the logo that gets more votes wins. Voting starts today, so be sure to follow each of us to participate.
The Campus Recap from Will Knights
Three big college events happened this past weekend.
The Cal Bears dominated in their second spring tournament. Walker Cupper Collin Morikawa and Sebastian Crampton tied for first as the Bears won by 20 shots in Wyoming’s tournament to win by 9 shots.
Vanderbilt shot -10 as a team in the final round of the SunTrust Gator Invitational to win by 9 shots. Will Gordon, Theo Humphrey, and John Augestein all finished in the top 10 for the Commodores. Hayden Buckley of Missouri won individually, his third win of the year.
Auburn won this weekend as well, cruising through the All-American tournament at the Golf Club of Houston. The Tigers won by 16 with four players in the top 7. Last year's NCAA champion, Braden Thornberry, had a strong showing for Ole Miss, shooting -13 to finish in 2nd place. Keenan Huskey of South Carolina won individually at -15.