France must seem far away for Bubba Watson as he goes into the final round of the Nordea Masters in Sweden in second place, unfortunately for the long hitting left-hander it’s 11 shots behind leader Alexander Noren of Sweden.
Coming off the embarrassment of missing the cut at the French Open and then seeming to disparage the event and the fans, Watson looks to be adjusting to the European Tour better in his second go round in Sweden.
Watson is still learning to deal with the notoriety he never expected nor craved, but has clearly been thrust upon him after his successes in the U.S.
“Well from my viewpoint, yes, I think it’s blown out of proportion,” Watson said of his comments about France.
“It was overwhelming how many fans wanted to follow me and I’m not comfortable in big crowds. And so it’s just new for me. Ever since my third win I’ve been nervous.”
Watson was clearly getting use to the spotlight early, posting six birdies in the first 12 holes, but a 3-over finish derailed any chance of putting any heat on Noren going into Sunday’s final round.
At the beginning of the week if you said I was in second place, in the final group on the last day, that would be great,” Watson said, a bit tongue and cheek after his third round. “The way I played today was just awful on the back nine. I just lost focus, lost energy, lost sight of what I was suppose to be doing and it cost me on the back nine.”
Now Watson will have to make inroads into Noren’s 11 shot lead with one round to go. Not easy, maybe not even doable, but Watson can go low, which will be required no matter what Noren does tomorrow.
“We’ve seen guys take leads like this and just dominate,” Watson said of Noren’s lead. “There is really nothing you can do, but play our game and hopefully its enough, but right now its not enough.”
Stuart Hall is editor of the Golf Press Association.