Here's hoping that Bubba Watson stops winning golf tournaments because Watson is one of the most entertaining players on the PGA Tour -- off the course and on it -- but he says he will retire if he ever rises to No. 1 in the world rankings.
"If I ever become No. 1 in the world - ever, somehow - I'm walking away. I'm walking away on top. But let's be honest, nobody here's voting on that, right? Everybody thinks I'm not going to do that," Watson said on Sunday.
Watson, who also once said he would retire if he got to 10 career wins, gained some rankings points, but no FedEx Cup points, and is No. 4 in the world, with a win at the 18-man Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas on Sunday. Watson fired rounds of 67-67-63-66 at Albany Golf Club in the silly-season event hosted by Tiger Woods to win by three over Patrick Reed. Watson wasn't even going to play originally -- he had opted out because it appeared he would not be able to acquire a passport in time for his young daughter Dakota -- but decided to after Jason Day had to back out. Tiger handed Watson and his son Caleb the trophy afterwards which, naturally, has a Tiger on it. The victory was Watson's sixth Top-10 finish in his past nine worldwide events dating to the Canadian Open.
Rickie Fowler shot a final-round 64 to finish third, four shots back, and defending champion Jordan Spieth strengthened his grip on the No. 1 ranking with a fourth-place finish. That's Spieth's final event of a record-breaking 2015 calendar year (Watson is playing in Thailand this week). Just think, one year ago at this time Spieth still had just one official PGA Tour win.
My pick to win last week was another big-hitting American, Dustin Johnson. He finished 15th. I did hit on a Top 4 for Spieth at -125. Also correct on Jimmy Walker (-115) over Billy Horschel (-115), Brooks Koepka (-120) over J.B. Holmes (-110), and Zach Johnson (-115) over Matt Kuchar (-115).
This week the silly-season event is the Franklin Templeton Shootout, hosted by Greg Norman, at the Tiburon Golf Club at the very plush Ritz Carlton Golf Resort in Naples. It's the 27th year of this event overall and 15th straight in Naples. It is the longest running Tour-sanctioned postseason event. There are 12 two-man teams competing -- nine new teams and three repeat pairings. It's only a three-day event as well: a scramble on Thursday, modified alternate shot on Friday and better ball on Saturday.
Last year, Jason Day and Cameron Tringale won, shooting a 7-under 65 in the better-ball final round to finish at 32 under. The duo led by three shots entering the final round. Day was originally to return but has withdrawn following the birth of his daughter (why he skipped last week as well). Chris Kirk, a late withdrawal from the Shootout in 2014, was supposed to replace Day and play with Tringale. Kirk withdrew the week of the tournament last year after suffering a wrist injury and was replaced by Reed. But then on Monday, Kirk withdrew again, this time with a back injury. So Camilo Villegas will play with Tringale.
Golf Odds: Franklin Templeton Shootout Favorites
I'll just list the Bovada odds for each team here: Holmes/Reed (+350), Harris English/Kuchar (+500), Zach Johnson/ Patrick Rodgers (+600), Graeme McDowell/Gary Woodland (+650), Jason Dufner/Brandt Snedeker (+700), Horschel/Hunter Mahan (+1100), Daniel Berger/Charley Hoffman (+1200), Charles Howell III/Rory Sabbatini (+1400), Retief Goosen/Danny Lee (+1800), Kenny Perry/Steve Stricker (+2500), Sean O'Hair/Mike Weir (+5000) and Villegas/Tringale.
PGA Tour Picks: Franklin Templeton Shootout Expert Predictions
The English/Kuchar pairing looks strong as they won this event in 2013 and finished second last year following a final-round 62. Perry has the most top-five career Shootout finishes among players in the field with nine, sharing the record with Norman and Mark O'Meara. Perry has won three times, with O'Hair in 2012, Scott Hoch in 2008 and John Huston in 2005. Stricker has five top-five individual performances and won in 2009 with Jerry Kelly. A total of 11 players have been part of the winning Shootout team in their first appearance, including Tringale last year. Berger, Hoffman, Lee, Mahan and Rodgers are newcomers this year.
Go with the team of English and Kuchar to win. They know each other very well and are a combined 65-under in two previous trips here with that runner-up and victory.
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