The Internet's official policy is to pounce on and, almost always justifiably, rip Bubba Watson for whatever his latest whiny, grumpy or mean outburst is. It's so often out-of-line or so unnecessarily joyless. Or it's phony as hell, using "charity and religion as his sword and shield," as Shane Ryan so eloquently put it.
My bonafides as a subscribing member of team #PrayForTedScott are clear -- I ran down Bubba's greatest hits over two years ago while he was on his way to a second green jacket, and I still occasionally get angry emails. He's definitely added plenty to the library since then with his profile increasing and the Internet paying much closer attention to his every move -- that post needs updating!
But ... and I can't believe I'm about to say this ... I appreciated Bubba's comments on the Waste Management Phoenix Open and don't agree with all the heat he's taking for it. When asked about his successful record at this event, and if that was a big reason why he was patronizing one of golf's most popular stops, Bubba responded:
"I'm here because of my sponsors."
That's all you need for a Bubba controversy. The train was off and running.
Our biggest gripe with Bubba is that phoniness and image his sponsors, other corporate partners, and some unsuspecting souls in the media propagate. It's so far from the reality on the ground. So, I guess I don't mind him being honest for a minute, even if it's still the same old surly ass Bubba.
Bubba's primary issue is with the course, specifically the recent redesign by Tom Weiskopf.
"I don't like it. I'm not going to PC it. I don't like it at all. I just mentioned why I'm here. I've got three beautiful sponsors that love it here."
He's never shy about ripping the courses no matter the prestige of the event or history of the venue. You can usually tell in his Tuesday or Wednesday press conference whether he has a chance that week. His comments at Olympic (and most US Opens!) were a clear sign before he ever played a competitive hole that he was probably going to check out that week.
This time, Bubba went to one of his favorite terms to describe a course he doesn't agree with: "goofy." He used that word publicly at last year's Barclays, in the past at Kapalua, and just about every other instance when he wants to convey that he thinks the course or setup is trash. Here he is on this TPC Scottsdale redesign.
"I didn't see any reason to change it. You know, again, they didn't ask me. It's just my own opinion. I didn't see any reason to change it ... Scores didn't change. It just makes it goofier and tougher, which is not fun for us. We came here for a reason. We came here because we want to play golf and shoot good scores."
The comments weren't necessary, which is in line with Bubba's many slip-ups. His sponsors, even though he described them as "beautiful," can't be too happy. The tour and tournament officials probably aren't crazy about it. But it was an honest second in a game overrun with inoffensive anodynes and brand activations. Jordan Spieth is not going to say, "Of course I am playing this random unknown event in Singapore because they gave me more than $1 million just for showing up!"
Predictably, Bubba is getting crushed for something that could have easily been avoided. But if Bubba wants to continue to "not PC it," I am definitely here for that. He'll say things I think are crazy and worthy of scorn. But I'm here for you Bubba -- embrace your true self. Say what you feel and napalm it all.
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Golf's Biggest Party: The Phoenix Open is more than just a tournament