Bubba Watson has admitted that he would have liked a bit more time off after his Masters win as he returns to the Zurich Classic to defend the trophy he won last year.
The left-hander has spent the time since his famous win at Augusta National doing the media rounds and with his wife Angie and month-old son Caleb.
He revealed that, had he not felt obligated to defend his title, he probably would’ve given the tournament a miss this year to spend more time at home.
“I have not had enough time with my family, by myself or anything,” said Watson.
“I felt like being defending champ, it was an obligation that I should be here. I think I should be honoured that I won here before, and I should be here.
“When we come to a golf tournament, it doesn’t matter what you did the week before or the year before.”
Despite his misgivings about being there, the bookies still have Watson as the second favourite to win the event at 14/1 odds behind former world No 1 Luke Donald.
“If I go out there and play my game, I have a chance to win. If the other guys go out there and play their game and hit good shots, they have a chance to win. So we’re not looking at that. We’re just looking at trying to play good golf,” Watson said.
Donald looking for form in Zurich Classic
Donald, on the other hand, is trying to rediscover the consistent form that earned him the top spot in the men’s golf rankings for 40 consecutive weeks last year.
“The things I’ve been doing great the last couple of years – wedge work, short game, putting – they just haven’t been quite sharp this year,” Donald said. “Not that I’m not putting in the effort. It’s just what happens sometimes. I’m not too worried.
“But I think that’s been a key to a little bit of inconsistency. You know, obviously it’s not far away. I won at Transitions and had everything come together pretty well that week. I’ve been working hard to try and get back to the consistent level I had last year.
“I had a good run (in 2011) and I feel like I’m good enough to get back to No 1, like I already did,” said Donald. “My main focus is always to come out and compete and have a chance to win a tournament.”
South Africans in the Zurich Classic
Local fans will be excited to know that Ernie Els and Retief Goosen are both making a return to action this week as well.
Els has been swinging the club very well this year and is exceptional from tee to green, but has struggled with his putter and hasn’t been getting the results he has perhaps deserved.
Joining them are Trevor Immelman, Garth Mulroy and Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge.
Zurich Classic past winners
2011 – Bubba Watson
2010 – Jason Bohn
2009 – Jerry Kelly
2008 – Andres Romero
2007 – Nick Watney
2006 – Chris Couch
2005 – Tim Petrovic
2004 – Vijay Singh
2003 – Steve Flesch
2002 – KJ Choi
Inside the course – TPC Louisiana
Course Superintendent: Robb R Arnold
Original architect: Pete Dye (2003)
Par value: 72
Number of PGA Tour events as host venue: 7
Course ranking: Ranked 20 (out of 51) in difficulty
Yardage: 6 712 meters
Grass: TifSport bermudagrass (tees, fairways, rough); Mini verde bermudagrass (greens)
Sand bunkers: 71
Water hazards: 5