Pink Driver and a Green Jacket
Andy Hese
Bubba Watson claimed his first ever major and green jacket during the 2012 Masters that had golf fanatics speechless. But let me be the first to declare that even though Bubba held off an albatross for the win, he will not be the "new" face of golf.
Bubba, declared as one of the young players in the PGA, is 33 years old, just three years younger than Tiger Woods. Which, in order to match Tiger in major wins, Bubba would have to win every single major tournament until he is 36 years old, just to tie woods.
Now it may seem unrealistic to ask Watson to win as many majors as Woods but in order to be the new face of golf it is necessary to win. In his 10 year career, Watson has won just four tournaments including the Masters. His $1.4 million dollar winnings on Sunday is more than he earned in his first five years as a pro, combined.
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Obviously you have to be a great golfer to win major tournaments, especially the Masters, which is arguably the biggest of them all. But Watson was playing for more than he usually does. He was playing for his father that he lost and also for his recently adopted child. Both great reasons to give more than you normally would but under normal circumstances, he is a middle of the pack golfer.
Known for being arguably the longest golfer in the PGA, averaging just over 313 yards per drive in 2012, he is also known for having the most unconventional swing. Using his pink Ping G20 driver, his feet struggle to hold his crooked swing in place, leaving room for a lot of inconsistency.
Sometimes in sports, however, you can get away with having an unconventional way of performing a task. For example, Phillip Rivers (it’s okay, I wasn’t going to reference Tim Tebow) has one of the worst throwing motions ever seen. But he gets it done, and has the stats to prove it, whereas Watson has little proof of success.
People are willing to turn to the next major winner to become the face of golf, but I don’t think we should be so desperate to jump on the Bubba bandwagon. Though he didn’t perform particularly well during the 2012 Masters, Rory McIlroy is eleven years younger, with equal major wins.
McIlroy is also in the top rankings more consistently, he has been ranked in the top five all season and currently sits third, one ahead of Watson. The "will Tiger Woods surpass Jack Nickolas?" debate will continue until Tiger retires but the bigger concern now is: Who will bring viewers to non-major tournaments? My chips are still on McIlroy.
Don’t get me wrong, I am glad an American won the Masters, especially after seeing all those commercials about how bad our academics are. And maybe we don’t need a new face, maybe the suspense of equal chances is what we needed all along. I’m just saying, don’t be surprised if you never see Bubba Watson walking off of 18 on the Sunday of a major with a win.