It probably would have been easy to turn off golf early on Saturday morning. The matches were all out of hand, the leads were getting more and more pregnant, and the names moving on didn't exactly ignite the loins.
But if you turned off golf, I'm sorry. I apologize because you missed the best golf of the year, for more of what was happening between the golf swings then anything. Bubba Watson overcame a 5-down deficit with eight holes to play to take out J.B. Holmes in the quarterfinals of the match play. His golf was incredible, don't get me wrong, but that won't be what anyone will be talking about this afternoon at the driving range.
That focus will be on the slowness of Holmes and the character of Watson, who continues to win fans from all walks of sports that don't involve a dimpled ball.
First, we settle on Holmes. A man who can raise some eyebrows for his slow play seemed to creep at a turtles speed towards the end of the match, and that didn't count DropGate on the 18th. A wayward drive with a 1-up lead, Holmes went pin-seeking with his second shot, only to have it find the desert and settle up under a bush. Done, right? Nope, not when there was a trickle sprinkler by his ball, allowing him a free drop. After the first drop, guess what was by his ball? Another trickle sprinkler, allowing him a second free drop, this time to a better lie and a chance at getting it on the green and putting for par. He missed, and the match went to the 19th hole.
Again, Holmes was in the desert, and again he was taking a drop, but it was Watson who was the character here. After finding his ball near a bush, Bubba exclaimed to the gallery, "Man that's lucky, I can hit this left-handed," a poke at the fact that he is in fact a southpaw. Normally a point in the match where most guys would be clenched up, Bubba was smiling, and as he watched Holmes walk in the middle of the desert to find a good spot to drop his ball, he jokingly yelled at J.B., "Hey, text me!"
That didn't stop Bubba from getting serious. As Holmes was looking at a spot to drop, Bubba and caddie ran after J.B. to point out that the area they were looking wasn't the right spot, and that they needed to move further from the hole to get a legit drop.
It was an interesting glimpse into the differences of match play. Never would you see a guy caring what the other player was doing in a stroke play event, but Bubba was a factor in Holmes' drop decision. He was letting him know that where he was looking was false, and that they needed to keep moving in a different direction.
As a Canadian friend of mine pointed out, "Golf needs more Bubbas. He has personality and he's a competitor," which is right. We can all remember Watson smiling and joking, but it was the second shot that concluded with a tip of the hat that shows how much Bubba wants to win when he's out there. He's determined, he's talented and he's continuing to show us that he is one of the best in the world.
It was a strange match, but an entertaining one. Holmes dominated the front nine, Bubba the back, and then all the antics that made it incredible television. The guy that should have won did, and the guy that was lucky just to get in the tournament made for an easy target for fans to root against.
It was exactly what golf needs in these type of tournaments, and it'll be the talk of the week no matter who wins.