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Little rest for Watson prior to Greenbrier

By RICH STEVENS
Published on
Little rest for Watson prior to Greenbrier

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- David Bradshaw wouldn't put money on his favorite to win the Greenbrier Classic, but, if he was ...

"Bubba Watson is probably the best player in the field," said Bradshaw, who will begin his fourth PGA Tour event on Thursday when the Greenbrier Classic gets underway at the Old White TPC. "He won last week and he's playing well.

"Although, to win two weeks in a row on the PGA Tour is tough."

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The Independence Day stop on the Tour hasn't had a repeat champion, and last year's winner, Angel Cabrera, is one of three Classic titlists in the field.

Watson owns a pair of top-30 finishes in his two appearances, tying for 30 in 2013 and improving to a T16 rank last year.

He's enjoying a career year with $3,990,174 in earnings, which calculates to $7,980,348 during a 21-match season. Watson made $6,336,798 last season, his 12th as a pro.

Watson is coming off a win at the Travelers Championship, his second title of the season and eighth of his career. Watson was 8-under after the first round and had to hold off hard-charging Paul Casey in a playoff to win at River Highlands.

Four days later he's teeing off for another 72 holes of competitive golf.

Watson would like to be the first player to win in consecutive weeks on the Tour since Rory McIlroy won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship in 2014.

"It's very exhausting," Watson said of trying to win in consecutive weeks. "I'm tired. I'm spent. That much pressure, that much energy spent trying to get into the playoff, trying to stay in the playoff and then trying to produce in the playoff."

Upon finishing in Connecticut, Watson headed to White Sulphur Springs to prepare for a week of practice rounds (Monday and Tuesday) and the Pro-Am (Wednesday) before the beginning of the tournament.

"There is no time to celebrate and smile and cheer and take some time off and think about the victory you just had," he said. "It's back to work."

The two-time Masters champion has produced with the grueling schedule, winning two events each in 2015, '14 and '11 and he's less than halfway through this season.

He practiced on Tuesday at the Sporting Club's Snead Course, but didn't play a round.

"After three holes, I told my caddie, 'I'm out. I'm done. I'm just going to go home.'

"So, my wife gave me some rest. My in-laws took the kids to the pool, and so I just sat at my house and rested a little bit. Mentally, the energy level is just not there. Hopefully resting and drinking some fluids I can recover a little bit."

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WATSON HAS certain goals in mind, but he's not ready to address one until he reaches the first, which is winning 10 tournaments on the PGA Tour. His eighth was last week's victory in Connecticut.

"I don't think bigger," said Watson, addressing a question regarding the World Golf Hall of Fame. "I haven't got to my first goal yet. I am two away from winning my 10th tournament. Somehow, if it's possible to hold a trophy for the 10th time, yes, I'll move on to my next goal."

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DAVIS LOVE III acknowledged some possible shortcomings as the 2012 Ryder Cup captain, but is working to fix those as he prepares for his 2016 captaincy at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.

The 51-year-old, who is eligible to play fulltime on the Champions Tour, still plays most of his season on the PGA Tour. He has missed seven cuts in 12 events so far this year while trying to bounce back from toe surgery, as well as neck fusion surgery, similar to that of NFL quarterback Peyton Manning.

Love isn't ready to go to the Champions Tour full time until he knows where he stands.

"I'm getting better and hitting it good, I just have to get the rust off," he said.

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FORMER NBA star Shaquille O'Neal towered over Greenbrier pro emeritus Lee Trevino during Wednesday's Pro-Am.

Then, O'Neal almost missed the ball all together on two tee shots at the beginning of the round.

O'Neal played the Pro-Am with Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, his son Jay, and Keegan Bradley.

Trevino said on Tuesday that he turned down an offer to play in the group, preferring to serve as caddy.

This article was written by RICH STEVENS from Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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