While much of Charlotte, NC, will be watching the swings of Tiger Woods -- OK, I will, too -- I'm most interested in watching Bubba Watson take on one of the best courses on the PGA Tour. At first glance, Bubba's explosive and occasionally wild game wouldn't be an ideal fit for Quail Hollow. There's lots of trouble here -- trees, pine needles, water all over.
But the lowered rough (it's only a couple inches in spots) can give Watson a measure of comfort. He doesn't have to be perfect while whaling away from the tee.
In shooting a 65 on Friday to share the lead with Retief Goosen, Watson shrunk the course. He made eight birdies and an eagle against just three bogeys. He's ranked first in driving distance (337.5) and greens in regulation (80.6). Those are the kinds of numbers that lead to victories, especially when you add a hot putter (Watson is ranked 16th at 1.69 putts per green).
Watson's mighty swats have made him a cult figure on the PGA Tour, but he still hasn't won. It's one thing to make the crowd ooh and aah over a 380-yard bomb. It's quite another to turn back one of the strongest fields in golf and hoist a trophy. We'll learn a little bit about Watson's stomach for the fight this weekend. Tiger, Phil, Furyk, Goosen -- this isn't your weekend foursome at the local muni.
Watson will need his best stuff Saturday.
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