Monday, June 28, 2010

Gerry "Bubba" Watson Takes the Travelers in a Playoff

At first glance, the fact that Bubba Watson captured the 59th Travelers Championship appears to be good news for the tournament. Watson, 32, is one of the great underachievers on the PGA Tour having never won an event until Sunday despite his prodigious length and deft touch around the greens. The victory was a hard-fought one and Watson, from Bagdad, Fla., who plays up the down-home Southern hick image for all its worth, endeared himself to more fans when he immediately dissolved into a blubbering mess on the 16th green after defeating Scott Verplank on the second playoff hole with a par. It was there on national television that Watson told the golf world that his father, who taught him the game, is suffering from cancer.

The good feeling around Watson's victory may be short-lived in Connecticut. If Watson goes on to capture only a few more events, or even worse, never again wrack up a title, he will join a dubious list of Hartford winners who faded into obscurity over the last 25 year that include the likes of Brent Geiberger, Olin Browne, Billy Ray Brown, Mac O'Grady and Phil Blackmar.

For the Travelers, big-name players lifting the trophy helps the image of the event and also aids in drawing top players who realize the TPC River Highland course rewards not just length, but the ability to craft shots. When Phil Mickelson won back-to-back titles (2001-2002) it added cache to the event. The heyday of the tournament was in 1992 to 1995 when Lanny Wadkins, Nick Price, David Frost and Greg Norman won in consecutive years.

Now, everyone connected with the Travelers is an unabashed Bubba Watson fan and their hope is that he can follow in at least some of the footsteps of another golfer who won his first PGA Tournament in Connecticut, Arnold Palmer.

(Photo copyright PGA Tour)

No comments:

Post a Comment