Northern Trust Open: Final Round recap
FEB 16, 2014 8:59p ET
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- It's been nearly two years since Bubba Watson last won on the PGA Tour. His last was the Master's in April of 2012. His coming out party, the green jacket came with the expectation that he would likely bring home some more hardware. And although he has come close, it wasn't until Sunday afternoon at Riviera Country Club that he was finally able to earn another victory.
"You never know when your last win is going to be," Watson said. "I never looked down, I never felt down and I hadn't won yet but I just keep plugging along and somehow it fell into my lap today."
Watson needed only a par to hold off Dustin Johnson, who was waiting in the clubhouse with a 13-under total of 271. He bettered that when he birdied 18, a lucky stroke as he put a little too much swing on a lag putt, sinking the 13-footer for the two shot win to finish at 15-under for the weekend (269, 70-71-64-64).
"When you're walking up there and you see where it is, your 15-footer or whatever it was, yeah, you start thinking about what this means," Watson said. "Somehow two-putting and then good thoughts, bad thoughts creep in, so you just have to catch yourself and slow down and make sure you complete what youâre doing."
The win came after a difficult start - Watson carded a total of three double-bogeys for the week - but he played with the same high-risk, high-reward type of style that made him famous. He bombed his drives and hit the greens when doing so. He was second for the weekend in driving distance and ball striking and third in greens in regulation.
In his final round on hole 17, Watson let one rip deep in the fairway. With Johnson finished for the day at 13-under and his playing partner Brian Harmon also within striking distance, Watson decided not to play it safe and lay up and went right for the green. A bold move that fell short as he landed in the sand. But Watson got it on to the green and saved par and save his bogey-free round.
"Coming down, I saw that I was winning, I was right there," Watson said. "I always look, I always want to know if I need to attack or if I can just play a little safer... Same thing I did on 17. Once I hit it in the bunker, I just told myself, 'Hit it up on that tier where the pin is so it's an easier two-putt.' That's all I did, I just tried to position myself."
Johnson once again finished second. He's been a bridesmaid a lot lately, as he finished second last week at Pebble Beach as well. Harman finished tied for third with Jason Allred, the feel-good story of the week.
It was Watson's fifth career victory and the first one that his wife, former WNBA player Angie, and their adopted son Caleb, were present for. It's one of his favorite courses and favorite events and although he knows there's always a chance this win could be his last, it's a good way to go out.
"The history behind this tournament, the years people played in this tournament, it's incredible for me to be part of this now," he said. "I made the cut at 1-under so I went into the weekend just trying to play solid golf, build on it, build on the future... Winning here at Northern trust is nice. Any time you can get another win, it's very nice."