(Reuters) – Masters champion Bubba Watson will look to make the most of his recently acquired home advantage as he bids for a third PGA Tour victory of the year at Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
The American world number three moved into the luxurious resort at The Greenbrier with his family only a month ago and has played several practice rounds on the Old White Course over the past fortnight.
“It’s nice being here, nice being able to sleep in your own bed, it’s pretty cool,” Watson told reporters on Tuesday as he prepared for Thursday’s opening round. “I’m excited about the week.”
Asked what had prompted him to move his family into the mountains of West Virginia, the American left-hander replied: “You’re always looking for a great temperature, always looking for a great place to live.
“When you look at what The Greenbrier has to offer, or West Virginia has to offer, you have family atmosphere, you have great golf. The mountains are nice views. When you add that all up, it comes to an easy place to decide to move to.”
Watson, who has produced the most consistent season of his PGA Tour career with the highlight being his second Masters victory in April, has enjoyed getting to know the Old White Course a little better.
“I’ve played it probably five times in the last two weeks, so I have been able to see it and have been able to familiarize myself with it,” said Watson, who tied for 30th last year in his first appearance at The Greenbrier Classic.
“That doesn’t mean when the pressure is on and the conditions are right I’ll play good. It just means I have a better chance of seeing the course a few more times.”
Watson has recorded seven top-10s in 13 starts on the 2013-14 PGA Tour, including wins at the Northern Trust Open in February and the Masters three months ago.
SETTING SIGHTS HIGHER
He has clearly relished his campaign so far, but has set his sights on making it even better.
“The season has been good,” said the 35-year-old. “You know, we always want better. We always want to win all of them, so we can still have a good year and still have good finishes.
“I’m looking forward to this part of the year. The (FedExCup) playoffs are coming up, and then eventually we’ll have the Ryder Cup, so that will be a fun trip overseas again.”
Watson has been paired with fellow Americans Brendon Todd and J.B. Holmes in a long-hitting grouping for the first two rounds.
Also competing this week are FedExCup points leader Jimmy Walker, a three-times winner on the 2013-14 PGA Tour, and former major champions Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley.
Swede Jonas Blixt defends the title he won last year after taking advantage of a last-day collapse by overnight leader Johnson Wagner to win his second PGA Tour title by two shots.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry)