Bubba Watson has plenty of knowledge on how to handle himself in a world-class golf event — he has been on the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams, he has won five times on the PGA Tour, and he has triumphed in a major, the 2012 Masters. An extremely nice performance chart.
Meanwhile, Jamie Donaldson has virtually no experience on how to deal with matters in a significant golf tournament — he has no PGA Tour victories with only two European Tour titles to his credit, and his best finish in a major is a tie for seventh in the 2012 PGA Championship. A reasonable history but certainly not spectacular.
Yet, it was those two disparate characters with their hugely different résumés that made WGC-Cadillac Championship winner Patrick Reed slightly nervous if not downright jittery Sunday in the final round at Trump National Doral.
Watson and Donaldson tied for second, one stroke behind Reed, by finishing at 3-under-par 285 for four rounds on the Blue Monster. Watson, 35, shot a 4-under 68 in Sunday’s final round, and Donaldson, 38, came in at 2-under 70.
Watson wasn’t overly disappointed with finishing second.
“It was good,” he said of Sunday’s round. “I went bogey-free, and bogey-free around here is always good. At the beginning of the day, I was just trying to have a solid finish and then somehow sneak up that leaderboard.”
On the status of his game, Watson, who was born in Bagdad in northern Florida and now lives in Windermere, said, “I’m where I want to be. Obviously, my whole goal this year is to make the Ryder Cup team, and that’s what I’m working toward.”
The long-hitting Watson started the day five strokes behind Reed and was tied for ninth on the leaderboard.
“Somehow, I lost by one, but I played good, I played solid, so I’ll accept it and I’ll get better next time,” Watson said.
At day’s end, he said he was impressed with both Reed’s play and demeanor.
“I don’t know much about him,” Watson said. “He’s real young  and obviously a great player. He has a lot of confidence, and it takes a lot of confidence. He’s backing it up with his game.”
Like Watson, Donaldson, who was born in Wales, was also more than satisfied with his play.
“To come here on this golf course and play like I have done for four days has been really good, moved me forward I suppose in the world of golf,” Donaldson said. “It’s really great to get in a really great week in America.”
Donaldson might have forced a playoff except for taking a costly bogey on No. 18 after making birdie on No. 17.
“Eighteen was disappointing, obviously,” he said. “After I hit a really good tee shot, I just tried to draw a 4-iron toward the flag and left it out there and made five. It’s one of the toughest holes we play all year of the finishing holes on any golf course.”
The bogey by Donaldson allowed Reed to play extremely cautiously on No. 18, knowing that a bogey would win the tournament. Reed happily and successfully played to make that bogey, and never in his life has making a bogey felt that good.
Like Watson, Donaldson accepted his second-place fate.
“It’s a shame it didn’t quite come off,” he said. “But I’m happy with the way I played all week on what is a very difficult golf course.”
Nobody likes to finish second, as Watson and Donaldson did, but they did have one thing to console them.
Each player took home $753,000 Sunday for playing four rounds of golf.