Golf

Plan for Bubba Watson at Doral: Play his own game

Bubba Watson hits near the crowd on the first fairway in the third round of the World Golf Classic-Cadillac Championships at Trump National Doral in Doral on March 7, 2015.
Bubba Watson hits near the crowd on the first fairway in the third round of the World Golf Classic-Cadillac Championships at Trump National Doral in Doral on March 7, 2015. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Bubba Watson wants to make it clear — totally clear — that when he’s playing golf he has enough going on in his mind.

He doesn’t want anything else up there cluttering his thought process.

So, in the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral on Sunday, he’s not going to be worrying much about who is where on the leaderboard. What he will be worrying about is one person and what that one person can do — and that one person would be Bubba Watson.

Watson is tied for second with Dustin Johnson at Doral, both of them at 6-under-par 210, five strokes behind leader J.B. Holmes, who is at 11-under 205.

“I can’t worry about what J.B. is doing,” Watson firmly said after his round of 70 on Saturday.

“This golf course is hard enough as it is.”

Watson will try to keep his attention focused on his own shots and what he has to do. It will be all Bubba, all the time.

“If I start worrying about other people, I’m going to lose it,” Watson said. “For me, it’s all about just picking the right clubs, hopefully getting the right numbers and making the right reads and making putts.

“At the end of the day, we’ll add them up and, hopefully, I can scare him [Holmes] or have a chance for that win.”

Despite the difficulty Watson has perceived in the course, he has been holding his own against the Blue Monster with rounds of 71, 69 and 70.

On Saturday, he even did it in difficult conditions, finishing in a persistent rain.

“Coming down the stretch with the rain picking up makes those holes difficult,” Watson said

Watson birdied two of the last three holes on Saturday, including the nemesis of nearly every golfer who visits the Blue Monster, the 18th.

And he did it in spectacular fashion, holing out a 43-foot bunker shot.

It was a nice way to finish the day for Watson.

“Very pleased,” he said.

Watson’s given name is Gary Lester, but early in life he was nicknamed Bubba after former NFL football player Bubba Smith. Football player Bubba dealt mainly in physical toughness; golfer Bubba is dealing more in mental toughness.

Watson, 36 and born in Bagdad in northern Florida has won seven PGA Tour titles, including two Masters.

A World Golf Championships trophy Sunday would be a nice addition.

With Watson, Holmes and Johnson being the top three players on the leaderboard, golf fans will be watching three of the longest hitters in the game routinely launching 300-yard-plus drives.

Their longest single drives on tour for each: Watson, 442 yards in 2012; Johnson, 463 yards in 2011; and Holmes, 429 in 2007. That said, it’s a safe bet none of them is ever going to lead the tour in fairways hit.

So that means, as they say in golf, Sunday should be a grip-it-and-rip-it day.

HOLE OF THE DAY

Naming Saturday’s Hole of the Day is like tapping in a one-inch gimme putt. We are talking about the nicest, most polite and most friendly hole in golf that you would ever want to meet. That would be No. 4 on the Blue Monster course at Doral, a 207-yard par-3. The hole yielded a pair of aces some 44 minutes apart, thus making Dustin Johnson and J.B. Holmes looking like a pair of aces.

SHOT OF THE DAY

Dustin Johnson or J.B. Holmes. J.B. Holmes or Dustin Johnson. We are in a quandary. They both had a hole-in-one Saturday, so how do you break the tie. There’s one time-proven way. We’re going to flip a coin to see who made the Shot of the Day. Heads, it’s Dustin. Tails, it’s J.B. The nickel is in the air and …it comes down tails and the winner is J.B. Sorry, J.B., need to mention that there is no cash prize awarded for having the Shot of the Day.

PLAYER OF THE DAY

Bill Haas summed up how he felt about Doral’s Blue Monster Course this way: “I didn’t believe I could shoot in the 60s on this course.” He was wrong … extremely wrong. Saturday, Haas shot 7-under-par 65 with four birdies and one bogey on the front followed by four birdies and no bogeys on the back. That tied for the lowest score of the day and put him in a tie for fifth in the tournament.

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