WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — His 2-under 68 wasn’t exactly the stuff of nightmares, yet Bubba Watson left Thursday’s opening round of the Greenbrier chastising himself for poor shotmaking.
“I feel miserable. It was a terrible round of golf,” he said. “No confidence off the tee. Didn’t matter, par-3, didn’t matter iron off the tee, didn’t matter driver off the tee. Just no confidence. I played scared golf. My score shows a couple under par, but it was really bad.”
The 12th-ranked player in the world who was coming off a win at the Travelers Championship, Watson didn’t get the fast start he desired on the course where he owns a second home. Merely finishing the first round under par proved a struggle.
“I was out there and I was just fighting anything just trying to make a score. I was getting lucky, kept getting lucky, and I finally made a double bogey on my 17th hole,” Watson said.
That was No. 8, where Watson yanked a tee shot far right of the fairway. His second shot settled in the rough surrounding the green. He chipped within 10 feet before two-putting.
“My speed was so far — it was so off. I hit one hard, hit one easy,” he said. “It was one of those things where everything seemed like it was just off. Chipping, putting, driving the ball, everything was just a little off. You know, just as frustration builds, that’s when I just kept talking to myself, trying to let some of that anger out.”
Watson figures to start no better than 35th place on Friday, where the probability of rain exceeds 70 percent.
“I mean, I didn’t shoot myself out of it. I’m still there, but it was just tough,” he said. “I really want to play well here. I feel like I was hitting the ball really well coming into this week. So it’s just heartbreaking to start, you know, falling back and not trusting what I’ve been doing all year and the last couple weeks.
“I shot 2-under, so I’m not out of it. Travelers a couple weeks ago, I shot even first round, and I did all right that weekend. So I’m not out of it. It’s just one of those things where I felt like I could really take it low today, and I just missed a putt here and there. Hit a couple tee shots here and there, and then that double bogey. So it just put me back.”