Bubba Watson regains confidence, wins 2018 PGA Tour Genesis Open
Bubba Watson returns to the world top 100 following his win in the 2018 PGA Tour Genesis Open at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. The win jumps Watson to no. 40 after entering at a decade low no. 117.
Watson joins Ben Hogan as the event’s only three-time winners. Though the win places Watson in elite company, it is his first since championing the Northern Trust Open at Riviera two years ago.
Watson credits the challenges offered by Riviera as being a key to his success, noting how the course’s layout places an emphasis on creativity and creates unique shot opportunities.
“Oh my gosh, they’re so much fun to pull off,” he told Brian Wacker of Golf Digest. “Around here it’s all about visualization. That was a big word. It’s all about seeing your shots, using your imagination.”
Rising to national attention following his 2012 Masters sudden-death win over Louis Oostheuizen, when from 164 yards out, he struck a hook from deep rough to find the green, leading to a game-winning par, Bubba Watson firmly established himself as one of the most fearless and creative players on the PGA Tour.
While Watson is no stranger to difficult shots, his recent struggles left his confidence shaken. Following his 2016 win at Riviera, Watson ranked as high as no. 4 in the world. However, when it came time for Davis Love III to select his squad for the Ryder Cup, Watson’s name was conspicuously absent. Watson was later added to the 2016 squad, though as a last-minute coach, not a player.
Not playing in the Ryder Cup proved to be the least of Watson’s issues over the next 24 months, as he continued to struggle to finish in the top 10. A fifth-place tie at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans was his lone top 5 of 2017.
Due to an undisclosed medical condition, Watson lost over twenty pounds between wins. The decline in both weight and performance not only shook his confidence but left him questioning his desire to remain in the sport.
''The last year-and-a-half, almost two years give or take, it's been a struggle because I want to be at the top,'' Watson told the AP’s Doug Ferguson. ''I was top 10 in the world for a few years, and so not being there, you feel like, 'Is this it? Is this my old man moment where I can't play golf again?''
Following the 2018 Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club, Bubba Watson seems to have his answer.
“When you have the confidence that this is the right shot, this is the right thing at this moment, you’re going to swing it better, you’re going to hit it better, you’re going to have full trust in that shot and that motion.”