The Times West Virginian

Sports

July 2, 2014

Watson looking for success in back yard

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — Bubba Watson came to The Greenbrier Classic in 2013 — on the advice of some of his friends like Webb Simpson and Scott Stallings — knowing nothing about the course or what to expect among the mountains of West Virginia.

A year later, the 2012 and 2014 Masters champion is preparing for his second Greenbrier Classic by sleeping in his own bed and looking out his window at the Greenbrier Valley.

“I’ve been living here for about a month off and on,” said Watson, who recently completed a home at The Greenbrier Sporting Club and now sports The Greenbrier’s logo on his golf bag at every tournament. “It’s nice being here, nice being able to sleep in my own bed. I’m excited about the week.

“Even if I didn’t have a house here, it would be great to win here. But having a house here, it would be really good to pull off a victory and rub it in (Greenbrier owner Jim Justice’s) face.”

Watson should know the course well. Not only has he played it — probably five times in the last two weeks, he said — he’s pulled fish out of the waters of Howard’s Creek, which runs through the Old White TPC, taken his 2-year-old son, Caleb, through the property on horseback and even received some advice from Justice, who may have played the course as many times as anybody not named Sam Snead.

“I’ve been able to see it and have been able to familiarize myself with it, just trying to see what shots I want to play,” said Watson. “That doesn’t mean when the pressure is on and the conditions are right I’ll play good. That just means I have a better chance of seeing the course a few more times.

“I’ve had some good practice here, so hopefully I can turn that into making some putts and having some good scores.”

In the end, though, Watson believes the advantage of playing in what is literally his own back yard is minimal.

“It’s just like every golf tournament and every course we go to — hit the fairway, hit the green, make a putt,” he said. “It’s pretty simple, it’s just hard.”

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