If you’re a fan of golf, or even a fan of sports in general, chances are that you’re also a fan of Bubba Watson. One of the PGA Tour‘s most popular stars, you can’t help but be drawn to a guy who wept when he won the Masters, makes hilarious music videos as part of the “Golf Boys” crew (and donates all that money to charity), and even uses a bright pink driver that he happens to also hit a country mile.
Unfortunately, Bubba hasn’t been back to the winner’s circle since that emotional triumph at Augusta National in 2012. The 2013 was disappointing by nearly any measure, with only three top-ten finishes and an early exit from the FedEx Cup playoffs, where Watson was eliminated following the BMW Championship. He finished 50th in his return to the Masters and failed to crack the top 30 in any of the year’s majors.
Watson’s 2013-14 season has already started, as he finished tied for eighth place at the WGC-HSBC Champions, showing that he’s got his game in shape to hang with the elite fields that WGC events and majors bring out. Closing the year with a top ten can never be a bad thing.
The key for Bubba is his putting. While he drives the ball forever and gets a lot of little wedges into greens, he ranked a dismal 119th on the Tour in strokes gained – putting. It doesn’t matter how well everything else goes if you can’t get the ball in the hole, and that’s where he’ll have to stay focused if he’s going to cash more winner’s checks.
If 2013 was a year of high expectations for Watson, 2014 should bring more balance. He’s still only 35 years old, and with another year with his young son under his belt, perhaps the travel schedule won’t be so much of a chore.
As I said before, if the putting is there, Watson can win any given week. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or even two wins this year, with a major a distinct possibility if the stars align. I’m looking all the way ahead to the PGA Championship at Valhalla on that one. One way or another, you can be assured that “Bubba Golf” will be in full effect in the new year.