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Bubba enjoyed first visit to Greenbrier Classic

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS - Aside from the golf, Bubba Watson had a pretty good week at The Greenbrier.

Watson, the 2012 Masters champion and one of the most-recognizable names and games in the sport, finished his first Greenbrier Classic at 5-under 275 - not bad, but not enough to get into the top 25.

"I'm just frustrated,'' Watson said. "The whole week, I played really good. I think I hit - averaged about 78 percent of my fairways, 75 percent of my fairways all week, so for me that's pretty good. I made too many mistakes.''

But off the course, Bubba had a blast.

He came to the resort a few days early with his family and took advantage of a lot of the activities The Greenbrier offers. His Twitter account was humming with pictures and reviews of the amenities.

"I'd say [the whole week] was about a 99,'' Watson said. "The atmosphere and everything was great. My golf was about the 1 percent that was missing. The whole place is beautiful.

"I've looked at every hill on this property here. I've looked at [owner Jim Justices's] other properties and goofed around. Me and my child went to the pool a lot, we did falconry, fed the donkeys, fed the horses. We did everything you could possibly do. It's been a blast here. Hopefully, I'm looking forward to coming back here, enjoying it and playing better golf here.''

Watson made sure a lot of fans enjoyed their visit to the tournament, too, by taking time immediately after his round Sunday to sign autographs for about 20 minutes in what had become a steady rain.

For now, Watson plans to return home to Florida to take a week off before heading to the British Open.

"I'm looking forward to the rest of the year,'' he said. "I'm playing great.''

Watson was asked why it seems like the Greenbrier Classic specializes in first-time winners and relatively-unknown contenders, while some of the world's highest-ranked players fail to make the cut here or fail to make a run for the title.

"It's golf,'' he said. "You're going to have that. This field is a weaker field, so you're going to have a lot of first-timers, rookies, those kinds of people in the field. You're going to have more of those than the top-ranked players, so obviously it makes for better odds for those people to win.

"And it's golf. These guys are all good. Stuart Appleby shot a 59 here, but he's won many tournaments. And you've got rookies that are great players. When Tiger Woods is playing in the field, usually Tiger wins. So around here, you're going to have a lot of younger guys winning.''

Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickryan@wvgazette.com.


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