Yesterday, PGA Tour pro golfer Bubba Watson won the Masters again. It was his second Masters victory in the past three years. He is 33 years old, handsome with brown hair, stands six feet, three inches tall, and weighs 180 pounds. So, he is tall and slender for golf. And he seems to have long arms, which gives him a wide arc for hitting long. And, like Phil Mickelson, Bubba plays golf left-handed. Bubba Watson has now won seven tournaments on the PGA Tour in eight years of competition there.
The Masters Tournament is held every year at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, USA. Every year, it is the first of four major pro golf championships in the world. They also include the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship in the U.S.
The Masters Tournament couldn’t have a better champion. Bubba and his wife, Angie (a former WNBA player), attended the University of Georgia, where they met. Bubba grew up nearby, in Bagdad, Florida, which is next to Pensacola. Bubba is homespun, which you’d think due to his first name.
Bubba Watson is a crowd favorite, partly because he’s kind of emotional. He cried in the television interview right after he won his first Masters. But I didn’t see any tears this time until he was asked about his young adopted son. Caleb waddled towards daddy when Bubba came off the 72nd green with the victory yesterday.
Bubba is always the longest hitter on the PGA Tour. As in baseball, long hitters are always crowd favorites. Bubba practically knocks the cover off the ball. He has a very upright swing. From this high position at the top of his backswing, and with ample wristcock, he unleashes is power generated by a big release of his wristcock. He literally “throws the clubhead” at the ball. That action produces a lot of club head speed. So, he doesn’t get all of that club head from making any contortions of his body during his forward swing, such as a violent hip turn like Tiger Woods has. And his forward foot moves around a lot on his forward swing, which is not recommended. I wonder how good Bubba would be if he kept that foot on the ground and finished his swing with almost all of his weight on that foot.
They say Bubba Watson has never had a golf swing lesson. That is so unusual nowadays for PGA Tour pro golfers. Almost all of them have swing coaches, psychologists, you name it–anything to lower your scores. But not Bubba. He’s homespun and homemade. I don’t know how he does it, but he does. He seems to have great eye-hand coordination. When I watch his swing, I keep thinking he’s going to spray a few off the tee with his pink-colored PING driver, maybe knock the ball into the next county. But not Bubba. He seems to know what he’s doing.
Bubba also seems to know what he’s doing when it comes to the great questions about life. Like, How did we get here? What’s the purpose of life? Is there a God who created this place?
Bubba Watson is an evangelical Christian who attends the PGA Tour Bible Study regularly. And like everything else, Bubba lets it out. He says, “For me, it’s just showing the Light,” the 33-year-old said. “There’s people who want to put down Christians. I try to tell them Jesus loves you. It’s just a way to be strong in my faith.”
Bubba tweets frequently. When someone tells him, “Your God Tweets are lame,” Watson responds with, “I will pray for u and ur family.”
Bubba has tweeted over 39,000 messages. He likes to share his faith in Jesus in his tweets. Here’s one: “God made everything & saved us from our sins & gives us hope and gives us eternal life! #Godisgood. So, his tagline is “God is good.” I like that. It’s similar to the Muslim’s saying, “God is great.”
PGA Bible Study
Perhaps the most powerful Christian impact Watson has experienced has been the PGA Tour’s weekly Bible study, held every Wednesday night during tournament weeks.
Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Jonathan Byrd and Webb Simpson, along with Watson, are some of the regulars, with attendance ranging from 16 to 50 on a given week.
“For me it’s a way to get back connected with the Bible and with God and Jesus,” Watson said. “Now you know other people you can talk to, ask questions to, tell them what you’re thinking, tell them what’s going on in your life.”
The one-hour study is something Watson looks forward to regularly: “Getting more in the Word and realizing that golf is just an avenue for Jesus to use me to reach as many people as I can.”
He grew up in Bagdad, Fla., as one of the good guys: “Didn’t cuss, didn’t cheat, didn’t steal, didn’t lie, didn’t drink, didn’t do drugs,” he said. “I was doing the right things but I didn’t know what that meant.”
It wasn’t until his senior year in high school when two twin neighbor girls, from the house directly behind his, invited Watson to their youth group. He went and found a place where he belonged.
“The girls asked me to go to church,” he said. “And after a few times going I realized this is what I wanted to do. This is truth here. And I gave myself to the Lord.”
But with all the pressures of college golf, especially on the weekends, it wasn’t until 2004 that Watson became serious about his commitment to Christ at the University of Georgia. He began dating Angie Ball (former WNBA player) and the two began living for God as a couple.
“We wanted to be Christ followers,” Watson said. “We wanted to do the right thing. We started turning to the Lord for our decisions.”
The couple married in September 2004 and were both baptized later that year, the day after Christmas: “I would say 2004 was my true time of becoming a Christian,” Watson said, “and shaping me into the man I am today.”
Notice that Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar also attend the PGA Tour Bible Study. They finished tied for fifth in the Masters yesterday. And Bernhard Langer, a two-time Masters champion and now 57 years-old, tied for eighth. That is the best Masters finish anyone has ever had at that age. Including Bubba, that’s four players who regularly attend the PGA Tour Bible Study who finished in the top eight.
Langer is from Germany. He is a very strong Christian who committed himself to evangelical faith in Christ by attending the PGA Tour Bible Study many years ago. Although he lives in Florida and has competed most of his career in the U.S., he then started a similar group on the European PGA Tour.
So, the evangelical Christians on the PGA Tour have been playing some great golf for a long time and winning many tournaments, even major championships. But their greater passion is telling the world about their God who created the universe and their Master Jesus Christ who died for their sins and rose from the grave. Next Easter Sunday, they’ll be celebrating their Lord’s victory over the grave. And I’m sure they, including Bubba Watson, would say Jesus is the greatest Masters Champion, having won the mother of all major championships that the world has ever known.