We love Bubba.
We love his towering drives and fearless, go-for-broke attitude. We love his all-white outfits, pink golf clubs and the fact he actually drives The General Lee. Further, in an era when so many public figures are distant and guarded, Bubba Watson is well, not.
A little brash, more than comfortable in his own skin and uncharacteristically transparent, we almost feel like we know Bubba. After all, Watson has openly shared many struggles with us such as his father’s bout with cancer, the process that he and his wife Angie went through to adopt their son, Caleb, and other matters many would understandably describe as private.
No, there isn’t one hint of pretension in Watson. Heck, he owns a golf hovercraft, and at 34 years of age is proud to call himself a member of a boy band.
Plus, in addition to all-American charm, and complete lack of pretension,Watson can play. He, of course, captured The 2012 Masters, beating Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff, with a miraculous recovery shot from the woods on the second playoff hole.
And it’s more than possible Watson will add a major or two, before his career is finished. Just don’t expect that to happen this weekend.
No, generally speaking, The Open Championship is not what you would call “Bubba-friendly.” As a high ball hitter, with incredible length, Watson is at his best on courses that reward aggression in favorable weather conditions. The Open Championship places a premium on being able to manage variable wind, and weather, essentially neutralizing Watson’s strengths. And the results bear this out, as Watson has struggled across the pond.
In fact, Watson has recorded a top-five finish in each of the other three major championships. He has a best finish of tied for 21st at The Open, and has only made the cut twice, again, his worst of any of the majors.
Also, Bubba being transparent as he is, has noted on a few occasions, that he isn’t exactly the biggest fan of leaving the fifty states. He, of course, had the incident in Paris during the Alstom Open de France two years ago, where he was heavily criticized for not sharing a courtesy car with another player. He noted then that wasn’t sure if he “would be playing other tournaments in Europe.”
Essentially, as Watson has noted he plays The Open, “because it’s a major.” But it isn’t because he loves the style of play, or takes a special interest in British cuisine. And I can’t imagine the Royal and Ancient Golf Club is terribly intrigued by golf hovercrafts.
In short, Watson is out of his element at The Open Championship. Sure, if there were a time he could make a run at a Claret Jug, it might be this week, as the weather forecast is good.
Still, as a general rule, the reasons we love Bubba are the exact reasons a win this week is probably not in the cards.