If you're a diehard golf fan, be warned that this post contains practically no Masters 2012 analysis, and I can virtually assure you that you won't learn anything new.
However, if you're a casual golf fan who only pays attention to the sport when Tiger Woods is a) in the mix to win a tournament, b) crashing his SUV into a tree on Thanksgiving night or c) the subject of a new porno movie, or if you're someone who dials in once or twice a year for a major tournament with some drama, then read on.
I'm not sure where my interest in golf, or more appropriately my lack thereof, comes from, but it's probably due to a combination of the fact that I don't play golf (at least not at all competently), the fact that the game feels slow to me (there's a reason people use golf on TV as background for a good nap) and the lack of compelling characters on the circuit.
Still, as I mentioned, I tuned into the last six holes of the Masters yesterday because a tight field down the stretch ensured that we would see someone's hopes and dreams crushed at the precipice of ultimate success.
As it turned out, the crushee was something called a Louis Oosthuizen, South African golfer best known for the gap between his teeth and his status as "top athlete in the world whose name begins with two O's." Despite a double eagle early in the final round, Oosthuizen lost in the second hole of a sudden death playoff.
The crusher was Bubba Watson, a 33-year-old lefty out from Georgia who hit one of the all-time great golf shots on what proved to be the winning hole when, after hitting his first shot somewhere near Stone Mountain, he plunked a wedge shot from about 150 yards out right in the middle of the green.
Regardless of whether you like golf or not, it's hard not to admire someone coming up big on the grandest stage of their profession. Bubba Watson did that yesterday. I respect that. But then as I read my Twitter feed, which admittedly has a few golf lovers sprinkled in amongst my gaggle of professional wrestlers and fake celebrity accounts that I follow, I realized that I should have been on this Bubba Watson bandwagon long ago.
For example, I did not know that:
5. Watson owns the original General Lee automobile from The Dukes of Hazzard. Supposedly there were several General Lees that were used in filming the early `80s cult classic, but Watson purchased the original one (appropriately named "Lee 1"). You know, the one that was used jumping that ditch in the opening credits as the Duke boys escaped Rosco P. Coltrane in an effort to make sure the moonshine kept a-flowin'. Watson recently restored the automobile so that he can keep alive his dream of running 'shine after his golf career is over.
4. He might bring In-N-Out Burger to the champion's dinner next year. I don't know if this is going to happen, but if his wife Angie is suggesting it, I will hold out hope:
His wife, Angie, was in Florida, watching on TV, trying to get Caleb to take a nap. She was trying to figure out what he was going to do to celebrate. "You know he's gonna put on the green jacket and drive down something in the General Lee," she told the Golf Channel. And as for next year's champions dinner, where he'll pick the menu?
"Might be In-n-Out cheeseburgers," Angie said.
3. He's never taken a formal golf lesson in his life Hey, neither have I! Now I know this is a golfer I can get behind! Rumor has it Watson has also never once watched video of his own swing. This is enough to more than cancel out the fact that....
2. He's in a golf boy band Say "hello" to the Golf Boys -- Watson and fellow golfers Hunter Mahan, Ricky Fowler and Ben Crane:
And honestly, the fact that Watson went with the "John Coffey inThe Green Mile
" overalls/no shirt/no shoes look almost makes that video okay.
1. He's not just American...he's 'MERICAN! Despite the irony of being born in Bagdad, Florida (There's really an American city named Bagdad?), they don't get any more American than a quasi-mullet-wearing Southerner named "Bubba," especially when you throw in the fact that he is not a big fan of the French:
In 2011 Watson warmed up for the Open by playing the French Open. The plan was to broaden his horizons and see a little of the world, but after a miserable time at the tournament, where he was frustrated by fans flouting rules about cameras, he revealed he wasn't especially impressed by Paris' sights. "I miss my home. I don't know the names of all the things, the big tower, Eiffel Tower, an arch (Arc de Triomphe), whatever I rode around in a circle. And then what's that - it starts with an 'L' - Louvre, something like that. One of those."
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So there you go -- several reasons why I actually now have a favorite golfer, as if I needed all of these reasons. Frankly, Bubba Watson had me at "General Lee."
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.