Bubba Watson loves New England.
Why shouldn’t he. The fans adore him and his style of play, the TPC River Highlands Course in Cromwell, Ct. is made for his game, and he picked up his second Travelers Championship title in late June by beating England’s Paul Casey in a two-hole playoff after the pair finished regulation 16-under-par.
We love Watson because, well, he’s Bubba. He makes for great theater whenever he tees it up, with that pink driver of his smashing the ball prodigious lengths and firing at pins no matter where they are on the greens. He’s self-taught in the game, like most of us, and he’s fun to watch, almost falling over at times when he drives the ball. Yep, that’s why we love him.
The 36-year-old Florida native is also one heck of a golfer. He now has eight victories on the PGA Tour, including two Masters. The big-hitting lefty is a complex man, one adored by the fans, but also a guy who was recently chosen in a poll as one of the least liked players on Tour among his peers. Perhaps the latter is because Watson doesn’t really give a darn what he says and when he says it. Yeah, he’s a bit brash and mouthy at times. But he is, after all, just being Bubba. Yet, Watson has matured in recent years. He spoke to the changes in his life after and during the tournament.
“My priorities are different. I don’t cry as much after the wins now because my dad passed away in 2010, so there is more to life than having a bunch of trophies that are just going to rot away at some point. I FaceTimed my son on the way up here, so I could say hey to him before he went to bed. There are a lot more important things in life. So, it’s a different drive.”
He’s also close to reaching his goal when he started out in professional golf.
“My goal in my career is to get 10 wins. I need two more wins. I felt like in this day and age with the talent level all across the world, everybody playing the game of golf, that 10 is a big number.”
Watson pointed to the fact that Tiger Woods, the “old” Tiger Woods, raised the bar for everybody on Tour.
“It made it tougher to win. Ten was always a big number for me. I think double digits, if you have double digit wins in this day and age, I think that’s pretty good. Other people might think differently than I do, but I think 10 wins is a big number.”
Watson is a man obviously at peace with himself.
“Looking back five years to today, I’m ahead of where I wanted to be. You can never predict if you’re ever going to win again. So, when I won The Travelers the first time, three months later my dad passed away. If I could do it over, I would want him still here. But you can never predict. I’m not going to brag and say I’m an awesome golfer and I should have won the Majors that I won. There are great players that have never won. There are great players that have never won a Major. For me to have two and eight wins and a World Golf Championship, I’m ahead of schedule. My whole dream in life was to play on the PGA Tour, and to actually have those wins and two of them Majors, I’m ahead of schedule more than I’ve ever dreamed.”