Bubba wins after eventful week at Riviera

Bubba passed a kidney stone, met Justin Bieber, appeared on a TV show... and won

Bubba Watson wins Northern Trust Open
Bubba Watson wins Northern Trust Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bubba Watson claimed victory in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera after passing a kidney stone, meeting Justin Bieber and making a TV cameo appearance.

Bubba Watson was two shots off the pace with just four holes to play at Riviera. But the left-hander turned on the afterburners to pass Jason Kokrak and Adam Scott and claim a second Northern Trust Open title by a single stroke.

The 37-year-old made an excellent two on the par-3 16th and then walked to the par-5 17th tee with the bit between his teeth. He unleashed a drive that travelled over 330 yards and then blasted a two iron the remaining 245 yards to the green. Two putts from there and he had the lead. A par at the last was enough to secure the title.

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4 Talking points from the Northern Trust Open

1 – It was an eventful week at Riviera for Bubba Watson. He passed a kidney stone on Monday, appeared in an episode of TV show “Girl Meets World,” took his son to meet Justin Bieber and went out on Saturday night to watch a Clippers-Warriors basketball game.

"The highlight is definitely winning," Watson said. "When you come to Hollywood, there's a lot of things you can do. It's fun. And winning is the cake."

With the win, his second at Riviera, Watson has moved back to Number 4 on the Official World Golf Ranking.

2 – Adam Scott made a great start to the final round with an eagle and three birdies in his first six. But he missed a couple of key par putts on the back nine and, despite a crowd-pleasing chip-in on the 72nd hole, he came up one shot shy. Still, his final round of 67 showed the 2013 Masters champion is on excellent form as the top players begin to think of the WGC events of March and The Masters in early April.

3 – It wasn’t such a good day for Rory McIlroy. He briefly tied for the lead after an eagle at the opening hole but it all went wrong after that. The Northern Irishman dropped seven shots and carded a 75 that saw him fall back into a tie for 20th place. “I turned a chance to win into a top-20, so that wasn’t too good,” he said.

Rory McIlroy swing sequence:

McIlroy wasn’t the only star player to struggle this week. World Number 1 Jordan Spieth missed the cut after an opening round of 79.

4 – Jason Kokrak looked like he might break his duck and secure a maiden PGA Tour title when he took a two shot lead after a fine birdie at the 13th. But he then made an error at the 15th and dropped a shot and couldn’t keep up with Watson as the left-hander put his foot down over the closing holes. “You have to eliminate those mistakes,” a clearly disappointed Kokrak said. “I mean on the 15th I was in the fairway and I had a two-shot lead at that time.”

Northern Trust Open Riviera CC, Pacific Palisades, California Feb 18-21 Purse $6,800,000, par 71

1    Bubba Watson (USA)    66    68    67    68    269    $1,224,000 T2    Jason Kokrak (USA)    68    64    70    68    270    $598,400 T2    Adam Scott (Aus)        68    68    67    67    270    $598,400 4    Dustin Johnson (USA)    68    66    68    69    271    $326,400 T5    K.J. Choi (Kor)        69    67    67    69    272    $258,400 T5    Marc Leishman (Aus)    68    67    68    69    272    $258,400 7    Chez Reavie (USA)    66    67    69    71    273    $227,800 T8    Sung Kang (Kor)        70    69    66    69    274    $204,000 T8    Matt Kuchar (USA)    69    69    69    67    274    $204,000 10    Ryan Moore (USA)    69    68    69    69    275    $183,600

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?