It’s got to be the shoes: Bubba Watson shoots 67 at Rocket Mortgage Classic in Michael Jordan’s hand-me-downs

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DETROIT – Bubba Watson rocked a pair of Air Jordan golf shoes that caught at least one writer’s eye, who didn’t recognize that model. Turns out they were a pair not yet for sale. As a matter of fact, they were a pair of Air Jordans that Watson had acquired directly from Jordan himself.

“I know MJ pretty well and we wear the same size so I get a lot of his old shoes,” Watson explained.

Those would be size 13, for the record. Imagine getting MJ’s hand-me-downs. Such is the life of Bubba Watson. A day earlier, he was grinding to make his first cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, overcoming a stretch of three bogeys in a row (Nos. 12-14) with birdies on two of his final four holes to make the cut on the number at 3-under 139.

“They kept cheering for me and pulling for me to make a birdie so I could make the cut,” Watson said of his enthusiastic gallery. “I’ve never made a cut here, so it was nice to make the cut.”

That earned Watson an early-morning tee time and he took advantage of benign conditions and soft greens to shoot a third-round 5-under 67. After battling an uncooperative putter for two days, he found his touch around the greens, making four birdies in a five-hole stretch beginning at No. 10.

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“Today I made some putts, kept the round going,” said Watson, who used his putter 10 fewer times on Saturday than in his previous round.

Watson, 42, still is less than seven days removed from some serious scar tissue. He blew what would’ve been his 13th PGA Tour victory and fourth title at the Travelers Championship. Leading by one stroke through 13 holes, he played the final five holes in 6-over par and tumbled to T-19. Asked how long it took him to get over his Sunday collapse, he deadpanned, “What Sunday? Oh, I’m over it. I don’t know, when did I sign my scorecard? I was good.”

As only Watson can, he added: “I’ve screwed up there before and I’ll probably screw up there again. Yeah, I was over it quick.”

Watson ranks 13th on the all-time Tour money list with earnings of more than $47 million, so, he’s not hurting to pay his mortgage, but his back-nine blunder cost him more than $1 million, which even his accountant would agree isn’t a rounding error. Asked at what point in his career he stopped worrying about how much money he earned, he said, “I never worried about money when I was broke and I’m not worried about money now.”

Watson had a classic reaction in the aftermath of blowing the Travelers: “I’m glad that I was there, had the opportunity. You know, I would love to do it again next week, throw up on myself again,” he said last Sunday. “It would be great. I want to have the opportunity and the chance to win.”

At 8 under, Watson likely will have too much ground to make up on Sunday to be in the trophy hunt, but he’s feeling good about the state of his game and looking forward to the British Open in two weeks at Royal St. George’s, where he finished T-30 in 2011.

So, Bubba, what’s the scouting report on the course?

“I don’t remember anything. I tried to find photos of the golf course. Every time you see the photos on the internet, it’s always different than the tournament, right?” he said. “I think when I get there I’ll remember what happened and different things, but yeah, I finished 30th only because I Googled it to see what I finished.”

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