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Bubba Golf wins the Masters

April 9th, 2012 · No Comments

Bubba Watson wins the 2012 Masters!

Did you see this one coming? I sure didn’t because I believed Bubba, who said he would be very nervous, and the commentators, who also felt that his nerves would betray him. Shows what we know. And then there was that stat that said 19 of the last 21 winners have come from the last group. Well, you can now make that 19 of 22.

So, how did Watson win his first major? Despite one of the weirdest, funkiest, least aesthetically pleasing swings in history, he finished 4t in GIR with an average of 73.6%. He closed strongly on the back nine, birdying four straight – the final one coming on the 16th where he stuffed his tee shot to within eight feet, then drained the putt, just like Nicklaus did so many times on this hole.

And then there was his second shot on the tenth hole in the playoff. After driving wide right, he struck a 150 yard wedge from the trees that curved 40 yards to the right, then danced to within 10 feet after hitting the green. After Louis Oosthuizen (who made an historic deuce on the par five second) chipped long and then missed a 15-20 foot par saver, Watson two putted for the win.

When asked about his game on Golf Channel, Watson said, “I see the shot and I just perform it. I just play golf. I hit cuts and draws.” In the era of the straight ball when no one else hits more than the mildest of draws or fades, Watson’s tee shots and approaches routinely bend upwards of 30-40 yards on their way to the target.

On his follow through, Watson’s right hand points straight up on the follow through on his fades, and straight down on his draw shots. The extreme positions in his swing and the drastic curves that he puts on the ball could be just the ticket for playing with the modern ball because it gives his game such variety. But, interestingly enough, if he used this swing in the Nicklaus Era, his shots would travel off the world!

While some gurus think that Watson should remodel his swing, or at least try to refine it, any such project would likely lead to failure. Changing a swing that has become second nature to him, and that is good enough to hit 70% of the greens and to win a Masters would be to court disaster. As far as refining it, his move is so different from what is taught there no teacher could honestly recommend any changes, however small, with any degree of confidence.

While some players, most notably Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington, have felt the need to fix what wasn’t broken, Watson should resist any urge to do so. Indeed, the only improvement he’s been needing is upstairs, and that area of his game is getting better as shown by his four tour wins in the last 22 months. And now, with a major under his belt, Watson is be positioned for a strong run over what should now be his best years.

Really, as long as he leaves well enough alone he can hardly lose. He might win several more majors, but even if he doesn’t it won’t be the end of the world because his wife is “his best friend,” he has a new baby boy, he plays a game he loves for a living, he has all of the money he’ll ever need, and he owns The General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard, the coolest car on tour!

Tags: PGA Tour · The Majors

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