RANGEGOATS GC FINE TUNE TEAM IN MIAMI
MIAMI – Earlier this week, Bubba Watson was trying to figure out something to do on Friday.
The captain for RangeGoats Golf Club knew his team would have some time on its hands after earning a first-round bye for the Team Championship in Miami. He reached out to his buddy Dustin Johnson, the captain of 4Aces Golf Club, which had also secured a bye.
And as golf fanatics of all types tend to do, they decided to throw together a game.
“We are going to hang out with them and try to beat them,” Watson said with a smile. “But it will be fun. We want to just kind of loosen up. We have that time. The bye gives us the opportunity to do that.”
The clash will take place at a nearby undisclosed course, but still well away from the spirited and lively grounds of Trump National Doral where eight other teams will be stressing during their quarterfinals.
“We will still enjoy the team atmosphere and have some fun with some other guys, but then get ready for Saturday and hopefully pull it out,” Watson said.
So yes, things will get serious very quickly on the weekend for RangeGoats GC. Not that the team members are worried about getting back into the groove of competition. If recent events are any indication, the team will be more than ready to roll.
The RangeGoatsGC moved from fifth place to fourth place in the standings last week at LIV Golf Jeddah to earn the last of the four byes. And as the golf world knows, the team is led by star Talor Gooch, who won three events this year, the season-long individual title last week and $18 million. Gooch also was a member of 4Aces GC last season, which won the inaugural season-long team title at Trump National Doral.
But it hasn’t been a one-man show for RangeGoats GC. Harold Varner III has been more than reliable to his teammates, and he was at his best when he won LIV Golf DC in late May. Varner III finished the season No. 7 in the individual standings, tied for second for the lowest round of the season (9-under 61 at LIV Golf Tulsa) and led all players in most eagles made with 14.
As captain, Watson closely followed his top two players.
“We had two guys play pretty good,” Watson said with a laugh. “Harold finished 7th in the standings and the other one (Gooch) finished No. 1. So, I've got to play better.”
To be fair, Watson had knee surgery last year and was off the golf course for eight months. At this event last season, he did some TV commentary work while still handling his captain’s duties. Since returning to competition, Watson has shown positive signs. He had a top-10 finish at LIV Golf Tulsa. More recently, he had two counting scores at LIV Golf Chicago and finished 5 under for the week.
Watson was asked about his big-picture approach for his team, not for just this week or next year, but for the years to come.
“I want to play golf and I want to compete but at some point, age is going to win,” Watson said. “Age always wins. At that point, I'm hoping that my team comes to me with arms open and we hug it out and we find somebody younger and better, stronger, faster, all those things.”
As for this year, one player who had to fill in quickly at the start of the season was Thomas Pieters. He performed more than admirably and had five top-20 finishes, highlighted by a 10th-place showing at LIV Golf London.
This week, if the RangeGoats GC can put it all together and continue its recent fine form, they won’t have to worry about what to do during upcoming off days. They can just use those to reflect on a championship season.