You stand on the tee of the 16th hole on a Sunday with a two-shot lead, you've got to be feeling pretty good about your chances to win the tournament. But the tee at the 16th isn't the scorer's tent after the 18th, and a lot can go wrong.
For Bubba Watson at the Travelers Championship on Sunday, a lot did go wrong ... and Watson's first instinct was to take it out on his caddy.
The scene: Watson teed off on the 16th, only to watch the shot drop into the water. He snapped at caddy Ted Scott, "Water. It's in the water. That club. Yes, the water." Later, after he flew the green on his next shot, Watson said, "So you're telling me that's the right yardage?"
Players rely on their caddies for club selection and yardage; a quality caddy can save his player several strokes a round by sizing up the course from a strategic perspective. But ultimately, blaming the caddy is like blaming the controller when you're losing at a video game: the final responsibility rests with you.
Watson ultimately carded a triple-bogey six on the hole, and would finish two strokes out of a playoff. Ken Duke, a 44-year-old journeyman, won the tournament on the second playoff hole over Chris Stroud. It marked Duke's first-ever win on the PGA Tour.
Watson, meantime, was not asked about the incident during his open media session, but apparently snapped at a PGATour.com reporter, "Don't try to make me look bad!"
No, he apparently did a fine job of that all by himself. Watson has struggled since his landmark 2012 Masters win. Sunday marked only his second top-five finish this season; he finished fourth at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions back in January. He'd had trouble controlling his temper earlier in his career, and while he claimed to have that under control after his miracle Augusta shot, clearly it reared up Sunday and may well have cost him a tournament.
Later, after cooling down, Watson took to Twitter and fell on his sword ... or wedge, as the case may be:
Picked the wrong club on the 16th hole. But it was still a great week. Thanks to the fans & Travelers for another great tourney!
— bubba watson (@bubbawatson) June 23, 2013
That's the right thing to say. Plenty of people will be watching to see how Watson handles the next high-stress situation, though.