Athletes in Focus: Bubba Watson

Green Jacket

Bubba Watson of the U.S. wears his green jacket after winning the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 8, 2012. MARK BLINCH/REUTERS/Newscom. Find it on Newscom.com: rtrlfive174631

Pro golfers often have the reputation of being distinguished gentlemen of high society, playing events at the most beautiful and exclusive courses in the world, but there is a group of young golfers bucking that trend, including the newest Masters champion Bubba Watson. The name Bubba would suggest that he is a fun loving southern boy and that is exactly how Watson has been during his nine years as a professional golfer.

It is the mindset of most parents these days that to give their kids a chance of playing professional sports they need to hire the best coaches and start at a young age but that was not the case in the Watson house. Gerry Lester Watson, Sr. taught his son, Gerry Lester Watson Jr., (Bubba) how to hold a golf club then natural ability took over. With no professional lesions Bubba made his high school golf team at Milton High School. The Milton team also had Heath Slocum and Boo Weekley who are also currently on the PGA tour with Bubba.

In college Bubba earned Junior College All-American honors at Faulkner State Community College before transferring to the University of Georgia where he helped the Bulldogs win the South Eastern Conference Championship in 2000.

Bubba started his pro career in 2003 competing on the Nationwide Tour for three years before he qualified for the PGA Tour in 2006. Since joining the PGA Bubba has continued to work but he have a lot of fun which has made him a favorite among fans and fellow players.

Lazy Round

Bubba Watson of the USA and his caddie Ted Scott lie down on the 17th green as they wait for play to resume after play was suspended due to high winds during the second round at the Old Course, St.Andrews, Scotland, on 16 July 2010. BRIAN STEWART/EPA/Newscom. Find it on Newscom.com: epaphotosfour126540

Gift

Bubba Watson hands a golf ball to young golf fan, Dillon Stewart, 5, on the 17th hole during the first day of The International at Castle Pines Golf Club in Castle Rock, Colorado, Thursday, August 10, 2006. Jerilee Bennett/MCT/Newscom. Find it on Newscom.com: krtphotoslive223573

From the start Bubba has been one of the longest drivers in the game averaging 319.6 yards in his first year with the PGA. His longest professional drive was a monstrous 422 yard drive he hit on the Nationwide Tour. The long drives come with a little extra flair as he has always used a bright pink shaft on his driver and is now using a pink head to raise money from Ping for his charity.

Also separating him from other players has been Bubba’s sensitive side which he got from his dad. Bubba broke down in tears after dedicating his first PGA Tour win to his parents and more specifically to his father who could not attend the tournament because of his battle with cancer. Bubba lost his father a few months later but it helped him put golf in perspective.

Ole Miss Drive

PGA TOUR player Bubba Watson ceremonially kicks off the BMW Championship as he attempts to drive a golf ball across the Mississippi River in St. Louis on Tuesday, September 2, 2008. BMW offered to name a college scholarship in Watson’s name if he made it. Watson, who is currently the Tours leader in average distance per drive, didn’t make the shot, but announced he would donate $10,000 to the Evans Scholars Foundation anyway. JIM SULLEY/NEWSCAST/Newscom. Find it on Newscom.com: newscastphotos001025.

First win

Angie Watson, wife of Bubba Watson, speaks on his behalf as he is overcome with emotion after winning the Travelers Championship..His father Gerry, who has been Bubba’s only golf instructor, is battling cancer and could not be at the tournament. Bubba was speaking to him by cell phone from the golf cart on the way to the 18th green. He had time to say ”I love you.” ZUMA Press/Newscom. Find it on Newscom.com: zumasportsworld581996

During the final round Sunday Bubba worked his way into a sudden death playoff at the Masters with Louis Oosthuizen. This was Bubba’s second playoff at a Major Championship the first time coming at the PGA Championship where he came up one shot short of a win. After tying the first playoff hole both players hit errant tee shots to start the second. Bubba was deep in the woods but hit an absolutely amazing second shot onto the green to set him up for the win where he broke down in tears as he was congratulated by his caddy, his mother and friends.

The Fans go Nuts

Bubba Watson of the U.S. (R) leaves the 10th green with his mother Mollie as the gallery applauds after Watson won a playoff to win the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 8, 2012. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS/Newscom. Find it on Newscom.com: rtrlfive174652

Winning the Masters was a great accomplishment for Bubba and now his popularity among fans is bound to grow even more as he continues to do the things that have made him the likeable athlete he is. Bubba will still have fun with wife Angie and their newly adopted son Caleb. He will continue to wear camouflage pants, drive the General Lee 1 he bought at auction and sing with his fellow pros in their boy band “Golf Boys” only now sporting a slick green Jacket.

For more photos of Bubba Watson check out Newscom.

Camo

Bubba Watson of the US hits from a bunker on the seventeenth hole during the first round at the 2011 U.S. Open Championship at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, USA on 16 June 2011. MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA/Newscom. Find it on Newscom.com: epaphotos022126

Lee one

The 1969 Dodge Charger used in the first episode of The Dukes of Hazard series on CBA. One of the orignal Dukes of Hazzard cars has sold for a whopping £70,000 decades after it was almost destroyed performing a stunt used in the opening credits. The iconic 1969 Dodge Charger known as General Lee is one of the most famous cars of the planet after being used in the hit 70s TV show. The Dukes of Hazzard follows charted The Duke Boys, Bo and Luke Duke, from fictional Hazzard County, Georgia. Together with their attractive cousin Daisy and their wise old Uncle Jesse, they race around evading corrupt county commissioner Jefferson Davis Boss Hogg and his inept county sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane. Caters News/ZUMA Press/Newscom. Find it on Newscom.com: zumawireworldphotosfive083997

Green one

Bubba Watson of the U.S. (L) receives his green jacket from 2011 champion Charl Schwartzel (R) of South Africa after winning a playoff to become champion of the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 8, 2012. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS/Newscom. Find it on Newscom.com: rtrlfive174632

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Gerry Lester Watson, Sr. taught his son, Gerry Lester Watson Jr., (Bubba) how to hold a golf club then natural ability took over. With no professional lesions Bubba made his high school golf team at Milton High School.