Bubba Watson’s grip-it-and-rip-it style isn’t well-suited for a links course and his Bubba Attitude isn’t winning him any new friends either this week at Royal Liverpool. Eamon Lynch, managing editor of GOLF.com has taken a targeted aim and fired: Bubba Watson’s act, and game, doesn’t play quite as well on this side of the Atlantic. Bubba’s first round +4 — 34 out and 32 in — one stroke better than John Daly and two strokes ahead of Irish factory worker John Singleton, wasn’t his only problem at Royal Liverpool.
Bubba’s not known for his slick, sophisticated style or his genteel behaviors. He’s proud of his Florida panhandle origins, doesn’t hide his affection for cheesy grits, and enjoys owning the Dukes of Hazzard General Lee car and even flaunting it a bit.
But in the rarified world of the Royal and Ancient game, Lynch opines, Bubba’s lack of “cultural literacy” is a major sin. He seems not to understand or accept the sophistication of fans who have “paid a minimum of $130 to be here watching him play for a first prize of $1.66 million,” who lounge about somewhat casually along the fairways and applaud shots that they but not Bubba understand to be fine efforts on a links course.
There’s a thousand people in this fairway . . . I just want to play golf. A thousand people are in this fairway! – Bubba Watson
Bubba wasn’t the only Ugly American who complained: about local practices, the fans, cell phones on the course, and cameras. Tiger Woods, who carded a first round three-under 69, complained about the camera clicks.
Bubba Watson’s not the only golfer who’s struggled to implement the adaptions necessary to successfully shift between courses on both sides of the Atlantic. That’s really not what Eamon Lynch is addressing. For him it’s a matter of “class,” an appreciation of and affection for a game with seemingly endless variations and unexpected bounces, and Bubba doesn’t have it.
Perhaps Bubba will simply declare that the course is too hard for him and go home. He’s done it before.