Masters winner Watson glorifies God in game, shares faith in Tweetscomment (0)
April 19, 2012
There’s something different about Bubba Watson.
The winner of the 2012 Masters golf tournament realizes he’s not like most famous athletes.
In fact, he welcomes it.
“People always ask ‘Why is Bubba different?’” Watson said during a pre-Masters phone interview from Scottsdale, Ariz. “They’re just trying to figure it out.”
Watson’s identity is not wrapped up in his freakishly long drives from his lanky 6-foot-3, 180-pound left-handed swing — he leads the Tour with a 315-yard average.
Rather, take one look at his Twitter profile and you may figure out what’s different about Watson: “@bubbawatson: Christian. Husband. Daddy. Pro Golfer. Owner of General Lee 1.”
Watson is an outspoken Christian golfer and he uses his Twitter account — along with his platform as one of the PGA Tour’s magnetic personalities — to share about his faith in Christ.
“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.”
Speaking to the Augusta, Ga., crowd and a TV audience after he won the Masters, he thanked “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” His first Tweet after he won the Masters read simply: “To God Be the Glory!!!”
In April 2011, just before teeing off on the final round of the Masters, Watson took advantage of his social media platform to Tweet out two Bible verses on Sunday morning.
Some started complaining about his 140-character witnessing tactics, but Watson’s response was simple: Feel free to unfollow, but the talk about God wasn’t going away.
Some 100 people quit following him and in true Bubba style, he reached out and wished them well with goodbye notes.
The past month more Christian haters have tried to derail Watson’s testimony — or as he mildly puts it, “write bad stuff.”
When someone tells him “Your God Tweets are lame,” Watson responds with, “I will pray for u and ur family.”
Among the 39,000-plus messages he’s sent into the Twittersphere, he’s sure to spread the gospel message: “God made everything & saved us from our sins & gives us hope and gives us eternal life! #Godisgood”
Sometimes he’ll use his PGA platform — like the day after taking the lead with a headline-grabbing 10-under-par 62 at the Cadillac Championship in March — to bring God into the mainstream conversation.
Watson’s Tweet before his third round: “The most important thing in my life? Answer after I golf 18 holes with @JustinRose99. #Godisgood” Later that day: “Most important things in my life — 1. God 2. Wife 3. Family 4. Helping others 5. Golf”
As golf’s official major season bloomed during the week of the Masters, and Watson winning a major for the first time — only his fourth PGA Tour career victory — Watson seemed like a long shot. His best finish at Augusta National had been a tie for 20th in 2008.
But winning is no longer everything for Watson. There was a time in his life where drives slicing into the thick, five-inch rough or birdie putts rimming out would get the best of him and his blood pressure.
Watson will tell you, Angry Bubba was not a good look. Unbecoming, for sure.
“I was so wrapped up in ‘Why am I not winning?’” Watson said.
Things got so heated on the golf course that Ted Scott, his caddie since 2006, finally gave him an ultimatum.
“My caddie finally stepped up and said, ‘You’re going to have to change, or I’m going to quit,’” Watson said.
Watson’s temper-laced decorum was replaced with what some call “Bubba Golf,” which stresses golf mechanics less and puts a heavy focus on just playing golf and having fun on the course.
Watson won the Travelers Championship in June 2010, the Farmer’s Insurance Open in January 2011 and the Zurich Classic a few months later.
In March, Watson led the Cadillac Championship after 54 holes before fading in the final round, missing a nine-foot putt by inches on the final hole that would have forced a playoff.
Watson credits three strong believers — Scott, along with his trainer Adam Fisher (“Fish”) and Watson’s wife Angie — as the difference in his attitude.
Watson, who has long supported many charities, including the upcoming Bubba’s Bash and the infamous “Golf Boys” video project said, “Not just in golf, but off the golf course, [I want] to be a light for Jesus.”
Taking time to study the Word
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.
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.”
Watson’s journey to Christ isn’t uncommon. He grew up in Bagdad, Fla., as a good kid but it wasn’t until his senior year in high school that he gave himself to the Lord.
“I would say 2004 was my true time of becoming a Christian,” Watson said, “and shaping me into the man I am today.”