Watson's Win is Good for the PGA Tour

Bubba Watson is fun to watch. There;s no doubt about it. The unorthodox swing that he uses to pound the ball miles is strange, but intriguing. And the possibilities of what he can accomplish given the distance he hits it makes him one of the most exciting players on tour. His love of Ellen, his outgoing nature and the fact that he’s finally won a PGA Tour event just adds my interest. Then I read his interview after his win yesterday at the Travelers Championship and I find he’s also one of the more honest, engaging players on tour:

Q. Bubba, can you talk about your emotions? It was very visible out there after you made that putt on 16.
BUBBA WATSON: I’m a very emotional guy. I cry all the time. When I go to church on Sundays, I’m crying at church. I couldn’t get the “yes” or the “I do” out on my wedding day. And the pastor said, you gotta say it. You can’t just nod.
So you know, and just all the — everybody has issues, but you know, our family had some issues, and my dad’s battling cancer; and my wife, we had a scare, we thought she had a tumor in her brain. We got lucky with that one, and now we’re battling with my dad. So it’s emotional.
You know, my dad taught me everything I know. It’s not very much, but that’s all I know. He would agree with that.
You know, I’ve never had a lesson. My dad, he took me to the golf course when I was six years old and just told me he was going to be in the woods looking for his ball, so he just told me to take this 9-iron and beat it down the fairway. And now look at me after beating a 9-iron on the fairway coming from Bagdad, Florida, I never dreamed this.

Q. When you finished second at the events you have, did you ever have any doubts that you would one day be sitting in the trophy room or did you really believe it would happen?
BUBBA WATSON: Truthfully, I never doubt myself. I think I have the ability, maybe just not a strong enough mind, to keep me going, because I’m emotional.
But you know, like I say all the time, I’m not worried about winning. I’m a Christian first, you know, and golf just happens to be how I can support my family. The game’s given me a lot, lets me support my mom and dad, lets me support the junior tournaments that I put on that I have next week I gotta go down to and do another speech.
But you know, it’s something I get to do for a living, but I don’t ever question why I don’t win. I don’t ever question — I don’t ever envy anybody else.
You know, I did a couple years ago, and it was wrong for me to do that, and you know, I just lucked up and won today. You know, I was just blessed that I won today. So no, I don’t ever think I deserve a win. You never deserve anything. If it’s in the will, it’s in the will.

Q. You mentioned a couple years ago you might have envied somebody. Is there something that changed your outlook or something you can point to?
BUBBA WATSON: Just being a better Christian. You know, going the wrong path. When you want to live your life one way and not doing what — you say one thing, but you don’t do it.
And thinking that — thinking that I was good enough to win. And if it’s not in the books, it’s not in the books. You know, I could go in second place for the rest of my life and never win, but that’s not a reason for me to pout. Sometimes the media puts pressure on you — I don’t know if y’all know that.
But you know, that’s the way I — and that’s my problem. When I first got out here, my problem was why can’t I win, why can’t I do this. My caddie stayed with me for four years even though I kept being mad and pissy on the golf course.

 Yep, he’s part of the Jesus Squad, but of the guys I’ve met among that group — Zach Johnson, Tom Lehman and Steve Stricker — I’ll say all were decent guys to deal with.

For the record, here’s what allows Watson to hit the ball so damned far:

Watson’s genius is reflected in empirical data, namely, his freakish launch conditions. Using a 44½-inch driver with 6.5 degrees of loft, Watson generates a clubhead speed of 122 miles per hour (about 10 mph faster than the tour average), and his ball speed is 194 mph (exceeding the tour average by almost 30 mph). But where Watson is really off the charts is in his combination of launch angle (16 degrees; the tour average is about 12) and spin rate (an absurdly low 1,600 to 1,800 revolutions per minute; the tour average is 2,700). He is the epitome of the titanium era’s mantra for maximum distance: high launch, low spin.

Here’s Watson’s full post-round interview, and if you want to get a better understanding of Watson, I suggest reading last year’s Golf Digest profile on him. Fascinating.

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Jeff Lancaster

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  • At the 2007 Cdn open at Angus, I marshalled the 9th hole and no one had gone for the green in the first 2 days. It’s about a 360 carry over the bunker in front of the dance floor. On Saturday Bubba pulled out that pink shafted driver and a buzz came over the crowd. He launched his drive and the noise off the club face was deafening. The ball carried the bunker and rolled on to the green to a huge roar from the crowd.
    The story must have gone around because Calcavecchia followed Bubba on Sunday and asked me how he did. I told him he hit the lip of the bunker greenside and stayed in the bunker. Calc said I guess he topped it!

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