Playoff loss at 2010 PGA a defining moment for Bubba

Tue Aug 11, 2015 3:23pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

KOHLER, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Bubba Watson is among the pre-tournament favorites for this week's PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, where he has bittersweet memories of his performance at the links-style venue five years ago.

Though Watson was beaten in a playoff for the 2010 PGA Championship by Germany's Martin Kaymer, he looks back at that near miss as the moment when he finally realized he could compete toe-to-toe with the game's best players.

"It just showed that I have the ability to play golf in a tough competition like that," the American world number three told reporters at Whistling Straits on Tuesday. "Have the ability to perform at a high level, under stressful situations.

"I think I shot in the 60s in the last round, played great. Birdied the first hole in the playoff under pressure. I did everything I was supposed to do, except one guy beat me.

"That just shows I have the ability to perform on a tough set-up and tough golf course under a lot of stress. It gave me confidence in all parts of my game, in every tournament, not just majors."

Watson closed with a 68 in 2010 and matched Kaymer with a birdie on the first extra hole before his title bid evaporated on the next hole after he struck his second shot into a creek in front of the green on the way to a double-bogey six.

The left-hander will never forget, however, how nervous he felt going into that week.

"In 2010 I was still new to the game, I never had a win until two weeks before the PGA Championship," he said. "I was scared to death playing PGA Championships and majors."   Continued...

Aug 9, 2015; Akron, OH, USA; Bubba Watson tees off on the sixth hole during the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club - South Course.  Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports