No golfer polarises opinion quite like Bubba Watson – so it's a very simple Alternate Shot question for Alex Perry and Mark Townsend to mull over
Not many golfers split opinion like the Bubba Watson. But which side of the fence are you on? Two of our writers are on opposite sides…
Yes, says Alex Perry
There is a lot to like about Bubba.
He gives millions to charity. He’s great fun. He hits it miles. He shapes the ball like no other player on the planet. He’s in touch with his emotions, which I particularly like, mainly because I am too – isn’t Schindler’s List a brilliant film? – and he’s not afraid to let it all out on the course.
Bubba bounds around the course looking like Mr Soft from those famous adverts in the ’80s and ’90s with his pink glove and his pink driver and his silly shades and visor and shoes with G4 plastered across them – and you just know that when he’s on your TV screen, you’re going to be entertained.
And he’s the gift that keeps on giving. Did you know he’s good friends with Kiradech Aphibarnrat? After their Match Play tie, he told the press: “I’ve been to Thailand so many times, hanging out with him, going to dinner with him, meeting his family.”
Who would put those two together? It’s hilarious.
I feel like I’m losing you, so I’m going to pull out my wildcard…
Still not convinced?
How about now? Oh forget it.
No, I don’t agree with a lot of his views, but if I didn’t like someone based on their beliefs I wouldn’t have seen an awful lot of my grandparents growing up.
But, and this is perhaps my most important point, when he won the Masters for the first time I took an awful lot of money off the bookies…
No, says Mark Townsend
Bubba’s generous. Bubba’s fun. Bubba hits it miles. Bubba shapes it like no other golfer on the planet. Bubba gets emotional after a win. What’s not to like about good old Gerry Lester Bubba Watson Jr?
Well, quite a lot really. Each to their own and all that so we’ll overlook his homophobic outlook to life – ‘It’s just my belief system on the Bible says you can’t be gay. That’s a sin’ – and we’ll turn the other cheek when he, ad nauseam, quotes his ‘faith’ at every turn while simultaneously F-bombing his way round the course.
And, given the fact that he doesn’t like to leave the States too much, we’ll ignore his horrific comments on Paris, somewhere he’s very likely to return in this year’s Ryder Cup. But it’s always worth repeating them anyway… “I don’t know the names of all the things, the big tower, Eiffel Tower, an arch, whatever that – I rode around in a circle. And then what’s that — it starts with an L, Louvre, something like that.”
This was was the same week that he refused to share a courtesy car with a fellow player for the 10-minute drive from his luxury hotel to the course.
What I can’t stick about Bubba is the snidey stuff, the shitty little comments caught on camera and the accusing looks and gesturing to his caddie when a putt doesn’t do what he thought. Steve Elkington got the treatment years ago when irritating the loveable left-hander – “I tell you what; veterans can kiss my ass.”
This, to me, is what he’s really like rather than a humorous, orchestrated video that is put together to enhance his image. There’s even a well-known hashtag #PrayForTed in sympathy for his caddie Ted Scott who has been used like a punchbag on various occasions.
He might be very different off the course or he might not. A few years ago we did an instruction shoot and the photographer had spent a day with Bubba the week before and, despite the bundles of cash Watson was getting paid from that particular sponsor, he was beyond awful from start to finish.
Good old Bubba.