More Than Bubba Wins At Farmers Insurance Open
By Scott MacLeod via www.flagstick.com
Bubba Watson (71-65-69-67-272) may have earned his way on to the trophy at the Farmer’s Insurance Open on Sunday but it was the PGA Tour, and golf in general, that was the biggest beneficiary of the tournament.
With Tiger Woods’ on-course struggles following on the heels of his fall from grace the future of the sport that he had driven to unprecedented levels was easily in question. Sunday showed that there is enough material for the PGA Tour to work with even if the greatest player of an era is not part of the real drama. Watson’s victory almost immediately sent him into the top ten trending topics on Twitter, where he has found a loyal fan base and added a personal touch to how 70,000 golf aficionados interact with their hero.
Hyped early in the week as the season debut of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, only half of that pair was part of the story as the final holes played out at Torrey Pines, and even Phil only served up a sliver of the excitement.
Bubba Watson jarred a final birdie of the week to win his second PGA Tour title and his curling downhiller simply capped a series of events that likely kept most golf fans right to the very end. That hole out proved necessary as Phil Mickelson charged with a birdie on the 17th hole and then failed to hole out a grinding attempt to hole out a 72-yard shot for a tie on the 18th. Phil, in his usual style, did add some flair to the attempt though with a walk-up to check out the shot, caddy Jim McKay tending the pin and a strike that landed just beyond the hole but failed to spin back closer than four feet. His conversion of that putt did secure him second place and likely put him back into the top 5 of the World Rankings.
Additional flair to the compelling tale was added by rookie Jhonnatan Vegas who rinsed his approach on the last in his attempt to reach the surface in two. An eagle would have tied him with Watson but he had to settle for a share of third place with Dustin Johnson who also contended to the end. The Watson, Mickelson, Vegas, and Johnson line-up made it one of the best four-way battles that did not include Tiger that has been seen for years. It’s something that has to make Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem very happy as they look to take the weight of the PGA Tour marketing off the shoulders of a certain star that is still grinding to regain not only his game, but also his appeal to the sports’ followers.
Of course, having an extrovert with as much talent and flashy appeal as Bubba Watson come out on top never hurts. Watson has never apologized for being an emotional player who takes on the game in his own way and that shone through in La Jolla.
Few would criticize the tears he shed after closing out the victory nor the emotional first pump that punctuated the fall of his last putt with Mickelson close on his heels.
“It means a lot,” Watson said of the win when interviewed immediately after Mickelson finished up one back to make the win official. “Every win is special because you don’t know if you are going to have them,” he said through a waterfall of emotion.
Watson said Saturday he has worked hard on staying patient this year and that seemed to pay off on Sunday. Even with his errant attempt to reach the final green in two landing in the bunker, he settled down and worked hard on getting up and down. He had little choice, especially with a star-studded group nipping at his heels.
“It’s hard every time you look at it,” he said of winning on the PGA Tour with so many good players in contention. “Any bad step and they can catch you. I just put my head day all day and just played my game.”
With so much sizzle this week it is hard to imagine what awaits next at the Waste Management Open in Scottsdale; but with all the top players from this week in the field its sure to be another home run for the PGA Tour.
It’s a streak they’d like to continue all year long. That might be an impossible task but with every successful week in the books the future of the Tour looks more promising than it has in a long time
This report provided to GolfWRX.com by Canada's Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)
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Tour Photo Galleries
Photos from the 2023 Valero Texas Open
Ah, the Valero Texas Open — a tournament as rich in history as it is in Texan charm. The event has been around since 1922, making it one of the oldest on the PGA Tour calendar.
Over the years, it’s been held at a variety of courses across the Lone Star State, but it’s found its home at TPC San Antonio in recent years. Some of the biggest names in golf have taken home the title here, including Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, and Ben Crenshaw. But the real star of the show? That would have to be the legendary Texan wind, which can turn a benign par-4 into a 500-yard monster faster than you can say “y’all.”
Per usual, GolfWRX was on site to check out what the pros are playing with the Masters just a week away.
Check out links to all our galleries, below.
- 2023 Valero Texas Open – Monday #1
- 2023 Valero Texas Open – Monday #2
- 2023 Valero Texas Open – Tuesday #1
- 2023 Valero Texas Open – Wednesday #1
- 2023 Valero Texas Open – Wednesday #2
- Chandler Phillips – WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Hayden Buckley – WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Brandon Wu – WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Rickie Fowler – WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Paul Haley II – WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Kevin Chappell – WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Austin Truslow – WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Peter Lansburgh – WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Peter Kuest – WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Trevor Werbylo – WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Doc Redman – WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Padraig Harrington – WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Ryan Fox – WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Ricky Barnes WITB – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Hayden Buckley’s custom Cameron putters – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- S H Kim’s custom Cameron putter – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Beau Hossler’s custom Cameron putter – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- New Garsen grip – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Brent Grant’s custom Cameron putter – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K Three – 2023 Valero Texas Open
- Luke Donald’s new Odyssey Twelve putter (w/ SuperStroke grip) – 2023 Valero Texas Open
Join the discussion in the GolfWRX forums.
Spotted: Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K Three “anti-right” prototype putter
Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K putters have really taken off on tour, and we have seen a handful of models in tour player’s bags. The latest version we spotted out on tour is a very unique design.
Odyssey makes this putter head with a standard flow neck that offers plenty of toe hang for golfers who prefer or need that weighting. This prototype has a long slant neck installed more near the center of the putter head that lets the toe sit slightly up in the air when held horizontally. This is pretty different since most putters sit with the toe hanging down towards the ground or are face balanced (face sits parallel to the ground). A full shaft offset looks to be achieved with the slant neck and the look at address is definitely different.
We spoke to Callaway PGA Tour manager Joe Toulon about the putter and he had the following to say
“On course [we had a player who] had a little push bias that didn’t necessarily show up in practice but it is something that he felt on course. So we wanted to build something that was a little easier to release and maybe not necessarily open the toe as much in the back stroke and not have to work as hard to release it in the through stroke. That was kind of designed to give a little offset and when you rested it on your finger it would rest toe up a little bit. We thought for that player it would help him square the putter face at impact rather than leave it open a little bit.
“It was more of a concept we had and will continue to work on it. When we had it on the truck and we were hitting some putts with it we noticed that you had to work really hard to push this putter. We wanted to make an anti-right putter. Just a fun little concept that we have an idea and work with our tour department to test things out.
“It isn’t something that ended up in a player’s bag but we learned some things in that process and will keep in mind for future builds and projects.”
The finish also looks to be a little different than the standard Tri-Hot 5K putter’s black and silver motif. The face and neck are finished in silver and the rear done in more of a blueish-gray tone. The White Hot insert looks to be standard and the sole still contains two interchangeable weights.
The shaft looks to be painted in the same metallic red as their standard Stroke Lab shaft, but we don’t see a steel tip section. Not sure if this putter has a full graphite shaft or painted steel.
Check out more photos of the Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K Three Putter.
More “Spotted” pieces
- Spotted: S.H. Kim’s Custom Scotty Cameron Circle T Newport putter
- Spotted: Brent Grant’s Scotty Cameron Circle T T5W putter
- Spotted: Beau Hossler’s custom Scotty Cameron Circle T TG6 putter
- Spotted: Tom Kim’s 2 new Scotty Cameron Circle T putters
- Spotted: Bettinardi BB41 Flow 25th anniversary putter
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