2014 Masters Coverage
You might be wondering who this Bubba Watson character is and how he ended up slipping on a green jacket on the 18th green at Augusta National on Sunday. A man named Bubba is the newest Masters champion, and that's most certainly a good thing.
So who is this character from Bagdad, Florida? Why is he toting a pink driver -- not just the shaft, but the actual club head? What makes him such an interesting Masters winner, aside from his name? Below are a few bullet points and an introduction to Bubba Watson.
There's the pink driver that was noticeable throughout the week. It's nothing too new for Watson, who has always used a driver with a bright pink shaft. He did, however, take it to another level at The Masters, and for a good reason.
The driver is part of a year-long campaign sponsored by Ping. Every time Bubba drives the ball over 300 yards, Ping will donate $300 dollars to his charity. At $300 per drive for his first 300 drives over 300 yards -- that's a lot of 300s -- Watson stands to rack up $90,000 for his foundation, just for doing what he always does.
As other tour professionals play things a bit more conservatively, using a fairway metal or iron off the tee at times for position, Watson reaches into his bag and grabs the driver almost without fail. His length came in handy at The Masters, where he swung out of his shoes more often than not, taking a "grip it and rip it" philosophy. It's not uncommon to see him poke a drive out 300 yards with a 40-yard fade or hook to go along with it.
And that swing -- the one that hit that magical shot on Sunday to win The Masters? It's not refined, retooled or even tweaked. He has no swing coach and has never taken a lesson. That sometimes awkward swing that results in the ball flying a long ways is homemade, and it simply works for him. As Tiger Woods toils away, remaking his swing with an army of analysts in tow, Bubba just hits the heck out of the ball and does what he does, how he wants to do it.
But as far as he hits the ball and how confident he always seems to be off the tee, Watson's putting has always been an adventure. It's normal to see Watson crush a drive well beyond 300 yards, hit a wedge into a par-4, then struggle over a short putt. As he came down the stretch on Sunday at Augusta, his driver was working well -- with a bit of luck on the second playoff hole, of course -- and his putter came around with it.
Then there's the pink-accented clothing Watson wore for each round of The Masters. Dressed in all white with plenty of pink sprinkled in, Watson stood out, as he typically does. The clothing is also part of the charity campaign, which Emily Kay detailed on Sunday. Here's guessing he sees an uptick in donations after the world saw him at work this week at The Masters.
Of course, he's no stranger to accenting his attire in a different way than most, either. There was the mistletoe belt buckle at the Waste Management Open, which is still one of the more classic pieces of clothing worn on tour -- in the non-Ian Poulter category, of course. He's eccentric, which is never a bad thing.
Watson isn't just unique on the course: His love of the Dukes of Hazzard led to one of the cooler purchases in recent memory early this year, when he bought one of the original General Lees. He then attempted to bring his General Lee to the NASCAR race at Phoenix International Raceway -- he's a friend of Denny Hamlin, after all -- only to have officials nix the idea because of the car's Confederate flag.
He's also one quarter of the PGA Tour boy band known as Golf Boys. No, really, Bubba Watson, Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan dressed up all goofy, recorded a song and made a ridiculous music video. For every 100,000 views, Farmers Insurance is donating $1,000, as well. It's just another creative way for Bubba and friends to give back.
And there's the other side of Bubba, who just became a father about two weeks ago. His wife, at home taking care of the newest addition to the family, is unable to bear children, so they adopted just about two weeks ago. He hasn't been able to spend much time with his son recently, instead having to prepare for The Masters. It was hard work that paid off, capping an emotional few weeks for the man who always appears to be playing without a care in the world.
He admitted fighting himself throughout the day on Sunday, battling his mind as it wandered elsewhere. He thought about his father, who passed away from throat cancer, his wife and son. He wasn't fighting back bad swing thoughts or anything about his game, he said. Instead, his mind wandered to his family, far away from Augusta.
Publicly, he exudes a "ho-hum" attitude fit for a man named Bubba. After winning The Masters, he was asked if it was everything he'd dreamed up. He replied, "I've never had a dream get this far, so I can't say it's a dream come true."
And you know, it's easy to believe him and easy to root for him. His smile seems genuine and the raw emotion he showed on the 10th green after sinking a short putt to secure his place in Masters lore was a great moment. to watch.
The Masters has a way of placing the spotlight on great stories, and Bubba Watson is just the latest to captivate the audience on Sunday at Augusta National. From his charity work to his off-course exploits and the way he carried himself throughout the week, Watson went from a solid player to a fan favorite at Augusta National this week, slipping on a green jacket in front of many adoring fans as darkness fell on the 18th green.