It was part of my tournament coverage routine at a PGA Tour events to walk at least nine holes in the first two rounds with a player just to get a handle on the course. At that stage of a tournament it wasn’t necessary to be caught up in what players were in contention. That could wait for the weekend.
During those early tournaments rounds there was no player I’d rather walk with than Bubba Watson. Sure, over most of those years he was one of the PGA Tour’s top players but that wasn’t why I’d spend time with him. I did it because he was fascinating to watch. His creative shot-making skills were obvious, whether he was playing good or bad. He would try to bend shots right or left, over or around trees or hazards. That was his style.
There’s a lot more to Bubba Watson than his shot-making skills, though. I learned that in detail in reading a book, “Up &^ Down: Victories and Struggles with the Course of Life,’’ that he wrote largely during the pandemic stoppage of the PGA Tour season with the help of Don Jaeger (W Publishing Group).
In our frequent travels we passed through the small town of Bagdad, FL., many times and found it unusual that a town of less than 4,000 near the Alabama line could spawn three PGA Tour players – Watson (the best of them), Heath Slocum and Boo Weekley. Watson still lives there and is active in the Pensacola area community in a variety of ways, not the least of which is his part-ownership of a minor league baseball team known as the Blue Wahoos..
A few things that make Bubba interesting: his wife Angie was a star basketball player, they have two adopted children and — oh, yes –Watson – as you might remember – won the Masters twice.
And, there’s a lot more to Bubba Watson than that. In “Up & Down’’ he candidly reveals his struggles on and off the course, his growing religious faith, his battles with anxiety and his ongoing efforts to make himself a better person. In short the book reveals what makes Bubba tick. It’s a most interesting, thoughtfully-written book, and I heartily recommend reading it.