Thursday, 26 April 2012
I normally struggle to keep awake to watch the conclusion of the Masters, but not this year. I was riveted to my chair watching events unfold, particularly intrigued to see what Bubba Watson was going to do next! His unpredictability, skill and imagination took my thoughts back to the late Seve Ballesteros and the excitement he gave when watching him play golf.
For the purists who love the almost perfect swing of runner up Louis Oosthuizen, Bubba’s win must have been hard to take. The contrast in styles and ways of playing the game just highlight how wonderful the game of golf is. Louis’s interview immediately after his play-off defeat not only showed what a class sportsman he is but also gave us an insight into the difference in how the two play when he said;
“He (Bubba) must have a great feel for the game. I mean, it's great knowing you almost have every little shot there is. That's really entertaining to play with him, to see the shots he's taking on and shots that I don't really see or I would ever hit.”
So what makes Bubba’s approach so different? We do know he does not rely on a coach and has not been restricted by conditioning from formal teaching methods. One would think that at some stage of his development someone must have explained to him how to create spin on the golf ball. He was obviously allowed to explore and discover different ways of playing and creating different outcomes. In one interview I heard him say that he bent the ball (in flight) because it was so much easier than trying to hit the ball straight.
Bubba certainly does things in a different way. He says he’s self- taught and he is not afraid to be different. His pink coloured driver raises money for a breast cancer charity every time he hits the ball over 300 yards and the white outfit he wore everyday of the Masters raised money for a children’s charity.
I for one find it refreshing that someone like Bubba, who appears to feel comfortable in his own skin, can be successful while having fun and pushing the boundaries of how we perceive we should play the game. The game of golf is better for having Bubba around and let us hope that youngsters coming into the game will be allowed to have the freedom to express their skills and have fun exploring while playing. Some of us experienced golfers may also want to look at how we play and may be encouraged to know that there is a different way to playing and that bending the ball is as skillful as hitting it straight if done with intent.