From his pink driver to the “General Lee” car that he owns, Bubba Watson is a unique individual who moves to the beat of his own drum. He takes that individualism to the golf course. In a time in golf when most players have the same robotic swing and seem to always be playing for the center of the green, Watson is always swinging for the big shot.
On Easter Sunday at Augusta National, Watson realized a dream that even he never thought would come true. Following his win he joked with media members that in his dream he always missed the putt. It is that candid response and his free-wheeling style that has endeared him to fans, and will make him an extremely popular Masters Tournament champion.
These days when a kid shows any ability in golf, it seems they are whisked away to a swing coach, spending countless hours analyzing a swing that is repeated by thousands of other kids across the country. And it is not just golf; if you have a odd-looking jump shot, or a unique delivery with your fastball, you can bet someone will try to change it.
Well, that was never Bubba.
He proudly will tell you that he has never had a lesson in his life. Not one time has he broken down his swing on video. Just think: What if someone had tried to change that unorthodox swing, or convinced him to play it safe on the course? He has enough God-given talent that he would still probably be playing on the PGA Tour, but he definitely would not have been donning a green jacket before his ride home Sunday night to see his newborn, adopted son.
There is no doubt that golf coaches are necessary and, in most cases, they help young players become the best player they can be. But there is something to be said for letting someone do what comes natural.
For Bubba, natural is hooking a shot 40 yards when there might be a straight path to the green. It’s always looking for that open space, no matter how small, when he finds himself in the woods.
It was that imagination and swashbuckling style that made his play on the second playoff hole. It was a shot that seemed so amazing for fans, but was just a routine play for Watson. When asked at what point he decided to play the risky shot, he replied quickly, “Before I even got to my ball. ... I was in a similar spot in regulation, and knew I would have a small opening.”
I doubt Bubba will ever drive the General Lee down Magnolia Lane, but when he does arrive at Augusta, he will keep fans on the edge of their seats. And I for one am very happy that I will get to watch it unfold each year.