Even though the “life, clean and place” rule was in effect today, Bubba Watson was not able to take advantage. Watson, the 2012 Masters champion shot a one over par 73 in the first round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in a round that saw 105 golfers shoot par or better.
It was a relatively uneventful round for Watson. He carded three bogeys and two birdies on the day. With the amount of talent that he has, I would have definitely expected more out of him, especially with the lift, clean and place rule being implemented thanks to the wicked weather the area saw yesterday. Watson thinks that he can turn it around and that he simply played scared golf in the first round.
Played scared golf today! Need to be committed on every shot. Got to improve my mental game or golf is not going to be easy! #Commit
— bubba watson (@bubbawatson) April 25, 2013
Watson is coming off what I can only imagine was a massively disappointing showing at the Masters this year, where he ended up finishing in a tie for 50th place. There is no question in my mind that Watson will be able to turn this around and make some noise this week. He came into the tournament ranked 15th in greens in regulation, 5th in birdie average and 7th in par breakers. Now that he knows he needs to come out and play with more confidence and commitment tomorrow, I think Watson will be fine.
One thing to keep an eye on is the fact that Watson has admittedly had a history of panic attacks, including while he has been on the golf course. From the context, however, it seems as if Watson simply meant he couldn’t get comfortable on the course and not that he was suffering from anxiety.