Fading American golf star Tiger Woods has opened his 2011 season with another disappointment, a 44th place tie at the Farmers Insurance Open on the Torrey Pines golf course in San Diego, California, as 32-year-old American Bubba Watson made some key putts down the stretch to clinch the second PGA victory of his career.
Bubba Watson made critical putts on the last two holes Sunday, including a four-meter birdie on the 18th. He finished with a five-under-par 67 and held off fellow-American Phil Mickelson for a one-shot victory with a total of 272. It was an emotional win for Watson, who lost his father late last year after a long battle with cancer.
"It is just like Tiger Woods, you know, when he won his first tournament after his father was gone," he said. "You know it is a hard thing because your family is not there to celebrate with you. So it is tough."
Woods started his first tournament of the year on a promising note with a three-under-par 69 in Thursday's opening round. But things got progressively worse, as Woods again had problems off the tee and with his putter. He started Sunday's final round eight shots behind fellow-Americans and co-leaders Phil Mickelson and Bill Haas.
Woods came into the event with a five-tournament winning streak at Torrey Pines and had never finished out of the top 10 at the course, with seven total victories as a professional. But rather than the final round charge golf fans came to expect from the former world number-one, before revelations of marital infidelities sent his world crashing to the ground 14 month ago, Woods ended the tournament with an erratic, three-over par 75.
"You know, I can do it on the range, but it is a little different when I bring it out here," he said. "Then I have to shape shots, I have to hit shots on the right trajectory. These greens are not soft, so you cannot just hit it any trajectory, you have to hit the proper trajectory. And then the wind is blowing, and I got some work to do, which is good."
Woods finished the tournament 15 shots behind Watson. Phil Mickelson shot a 69 in the final round and was the runner-up with a total of 273.