Jul 2, 2015; White Sulphur Springs, WV, USA; Bubba Watson on the 18th green at The Old White TPC. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Today’s world is filled with gossipers and finger pointers I think Bubba Watson is a breath of fresh air. People of power and influence are constantly put under the microscope. Athletes are no different, and even in the “gentleman’s game” of golf controversy finds its way onto radio talk shows, sports television, and supermarket tabloids. The well documented personal struggles of some of the games greatest names gives us all the opportunity, unjustly I might add, to indeed “judge a book by its cover.” And what did your mother always say about that?
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Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Dustin Johnson would probably prefer for the general public to mind their own business. But that is how the world operates today.
One man seems to keep his nose clean on a more consistent basis than others, and Bubba Watson would have it no other way.
In my daily quest for useless knowledge, I came across an article on the lanky lefty from Bagdad, Florida (an ironic name for a town in the deep south considering recent global events). Anyway, Mr. Watson recently found himself in the undesirable crosshairs of the national media. The “hot topic” was the confederate flag painted on the roof of Watson’s 69′ Dodge Charger. For you TV history buffs out there, your hunch is right in guessing that this is the muscle car showcased in the Dukes of Hazzard series.
Since the shooting that killed 9 Charleston, SC African American churchgoers in June, symbols associated with the confederate flag have come under public scrutiny.
Watson felt it was necessary to make the change to his beloved General Lee. Nobody asked him to repaint the car. He wasn’t the focus of media investigation. The 36 year old Christian just felt it was the right thing to do. On his Twitter account, Bubba posted “All men ARE created equal, I believe that so I will be painting the American flag over the roof of the General Lee. #USA”
Nothing monumental about his words. Just a normal guy, making a conscious decision to change the tide of race relations in this country.
Watson was also recently questioned about the recent Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. Global Golf Post quoted Bubba as saying, “The Bible says that you still listen to the government, and the government made their decision. So yeah, I stand by it.”
Again, nothing ground breaking. Just a man who wants to love his family and friends, and maybe smoke a 340 yard drive down a fairway or two. Whether it’s just or not, athletes are often looked at judged based on their opinions and actions towards current affairs in the world. It’s refreshing when someone of influence seems to do the “right” thing without being asked.
Watson is gearing up to make a run at The Open Championship this week. His prior attempts have been less than impressive, with his highest finish in any Open coming in the 2012 when he tied for 23rd at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
The links game doesn’t seem to fit Watsons style so far in his career. He’s missed 3 out of 6 cuts in the Opens he’s played in the past, including a missed cut in 2010 at St. Andrews, the site of this years Open.
St. Andrews in particular creates a challenge for the left-handed Watson. His preferred right-to-left ball flight doesn’t bode well for a course that has 12 dogleg rights on the links. Maybe his game is a little “nervy” to withstand the frustrations of a links style course. Those same nerves are enough to keep him out of the media spotlight though, and that’s just the way he wants it.