Bubba Watson enjoyed every bit of playing in a threesome alongside Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, the two who had so memorably dueled in the final round of the PGA Championship two weeks ago.
"Yeah, especially when I was beating them," Watson said.
He did more than tag along yesterday with the dynamic young players who both made personal history at Whistling Straits -- Day by winning a major for the first time, Spieth by becoming No. 1 in the world while finishing second to Day.
Watson finished the first round of The Barclays, the opener of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs, tied for the lead with a 5-under-par 65. He is even with Tony Finau, Spencer Levin and Camilo Villegas at Plainfield Country Club. And he definitely stole the show in the marquee group.
"We all had fun. We were joking. Obviously we were trying to play our best golf but at the same time we are all friends. We are all pulling for each other and we support each other," Watson said, noting that Day's son Dash was at the Watsons' rented house Wednesday night "eating up all my macaroni and cheese."
Watson might have overstated the "fun" part with regard to Spieth. He was 6-over on his second nine (the front) and finished at 4-over, despite having hit 11 of 14 fairways. "After the tee shots, this is the worst round I've played in years," he said. "Typically, when I hit the fairways, I'm not over par. That's what was weird about the round."
What really was uncommon was playing with Day so soon after the PGA. In the FedEx Cup tournaments, golfers are grouped according to their positions in the point standings. Entering this week, Spieth, Day and Watson were Nos. 1-3, respectively. "I'm the low man on the totem pole today," Watson said, in good spirits despite a bogey on his final hole.
Day was fortunate to be able to play, given that he went to New Brunswick for an MRI after having tweaked his back moving some luggage Tuesday. "I'm doing everything I can to try and relax the spasms that I have," he said after shooting 2-under.
The round certainly did not have the high drama of Whistling Straits and it was not a Best of Spieth montage. "He just looked a little flat. It's understandable with all the stuff he's been doing," Day said. "Obviously, we tried to keep the momentum going from the PGA."
Johnson Wagner had a solid 3-under-par 67 while many of his old friends were playing the final round of the Met Open at Winged Foot East. Wagner attended the gala Sunday celebrating the tournament's 100th year, and cherishes his 2001 and 2002 Met Open wins, at Bethpage and Winged Foot, every day.
Of the latter, he said, "It was my first professional event . . . It absolutely 100 percent started my professional career."
His mentor, Bobby Heins of Old Oaks in Westchester, came to watch after having finished his morning round at Winged Foot. "We don't play enough Donald Ross or Seth Raynor or [A.W.] Tillinghast courses on the PGA Tour, it's turning into a more modern game," Wagner said. "So it's pretty neat to play a Donald Ross golf course."
Polland wins Met Open. Deepdale Golf Club assistant pro Ben Polland, who lost the national club pros championship on the final hole then played well in the PGA Championship, won the 100th Met Open in a three-hole playoff at Winged Foot's East Course. After three rounds of par 70, he beat Tyler Hall of Upper Montclair Country Club in the playoff.