March 20, 2011


The Swinging Savant: His game is unorthodox, he tries shots others would never consider, and he's sort of goofy, which makes Bubba a wildly entertaining, world-class player (Austin Murphy, 3/21/11, Sports Illustrated)

Prepare to meet Bubba from Bagdad, as the sometimes-loopy lefty refers to himself. A native of Bagdad, Fla., near Pensacola, he is known for his ridiculous length—Watson's 314.8-yard driving average leads the PGA Tour—and the still more ridiculous pink shaft on his driver. What's the deal with that? "It's like calling the biggest man 'Tiny,'" Watson explains. "It doesn't really fit, but it's funny." Pause. "It's funny to me, with the goofy mind I have."

Watson's mind is among the most original and intriguing in golf. In this era of equipment designed to make the ball fly straight, he is an affable, shaggy-haired anomaly—a savant at shaping his shots: cutting and drawing (up to 50 yards), high and low, and otherwise making the ball do his bidding. With a self-taught swing you wouldn't teach, he executes shots that even his peers could not conceive.

"He paints the course," says Rory McIlroy. "He moves the ball better than anyone in the game right now."

"Most of us know our limitations," says Bill Haas. "I think Bubba feels like he doesn't have any."

In his third-round match at Dove Mountain against Geoff Ogilvy, Watson struck a tee shot on the par-5 11th that traveled 320 yards, leaving him 287 yards to the pin. "I was just in front of him and was thinking I'd have to hit a three-wood," recalls Ogilvy. "So when he pulled out his three-iron, I was a very interested spectator."

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Posted by at March 20, 2011 6:21 AM

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