Bubba Watson sets up a putt on the first green during the final round of the Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia on July 6, 2014Bubba Watson sets up a putt on the first green during the final round of the Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia on July 6, 2014 (AFP Photo/Todd Warshaw)
Hoylake (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Masters champion Bubba Watson may not have had the success he's looking for at the Open championship, which begins on Thursday, but is relishing the challenge of tackling the Hoylake links layout.
The 35-year-old left-hander from Bagdad, Florida, is still looking for his first victory on European soil after racking up six wins, including his first Masters title in 2012, on North American courses.
"You always look forward to this event. You always look forward to coming over and playing what golf is all about, the imagination, the different shots you can play," said the world number three.
"I've been hitting a lot of irons off the tees, and looking forward for the week to get started.
Watson, who played on the losing American team at both the 2010 and 2012 Ryder Cups, is making only his sixth appearance at the Open that includes a best finish of 23rd in 2012 and two missed cuts.
"It's like any golf tournament, you can hit a lot of great shots, but you've got to make putts.
"You've got to learn how to make putts around here. For me it's always about trying to control the ball the right distance.
"I like to hit low shots but maybe I need to start trying to hit high shots around here, because I haven't had that many low finishes at the Open.
"I love the creativity this kind of golf provides. I haven't been successful at it yet, but hopefully over the next few years I can get better at it.
Watson, who was nicknamed by his father after the former American football player and actor Bubba Smith, says the performances of defending champion Phil Mickelson last year and fellow American Tom Watson in 2009, has given him renewed hope of overcoming his European drought.
Watson, the 64-year-old US Ryder Cup captain, lost in a playoff against American Stuart Cink five years ago, but won the Open five times between 1975 and 1983 in a spectacular run.
"It's inspiring to see the greats of the game just to play, and the history of these golf tournaments," Bubba Watson said.
"It was inspiring to see Tom Watson a few years ago have that chance. And watching Phil win for the first time, it's really neat seeing that. "And seeing Rickie Fowler play pretty good the last couple of years.
"It's always inspiring when you see some friends of yours play well. But, yeah, it comes down to me hitting the shots. Just because I'm inspired doesn't mean I'm going to hit good shots.
"Obviously history has proven that Americans can come over and win. If I'm ever going to win, who knows, but I'm going to give it my best shot.
"I love coming over here and facing the challenge. Sometimes you're going to play good, sometimes you're not. Hopefully I play more good than bad." he concluded.