Friday 23 March 2018

Seve spirit lives on in gung-ho Bubba

Paul Mahoney, at Royal St George's

Bubba Watson upset the French last month. In Kent, that makes him a hero.

Watson is the new John Daly, an honorary Brit.

Mind you, the old John Daly is here, too. The 1995 champion always pulls a huge crowd at the British Open -- if only these days for fans to gawp at his interesting dress sense.

Round two saw him sporting a pink hat and shirt, and trousers that looked like they were made from a shower curtain stolen from Barbie's house.

Watson is a sober version of Daly -- in style and drink of choice. He has never had an alcoholic drink in his life. Or read a book. Or had a golf lesson. It doesn't seem to have held him back.

He's one-over par and only five shots off the leading group at four-under par at Royal St George's. He would have been even higher up the leaderboard if it were not for four dropped shots on the back nine yesterday including a double bogey at the 18th.

But that's just the way he plays. It's free-flowing twist or bust. He's fun to watch and the fans have taken to him. Watson is the clown prince of the new breed of gung-ho Americans proving there is life after Tiger Woods.

Watson lost the play-off to Martin Kaymer at the 2010 US PGA. His game should be tailor-made for links golf.

When his swing and brain are in tandem, he makes golf look like a simple joyous game of ball of stick. But when he's off kilter, he makes it look like fishing while riding a unicycle down a mogul ski run.

It should come as no surprise, then, to discover that Watson's boyhood hero was not an American with a paint-by-numbers country club swing. His inspiration came from watching European golf on TV.

Watson is a student of the Seve Ballesteros school of ad-libbed golf.

"Seve was my hero. He was a real shot-maker," Watson said. "When he hit into trouble he always found a way to get out. It was his imagination taking over. You can't teach that."

The trouble with Watson, though, is that he has too much imagination.

He is easily distracted and fidgets constantly like he's got ants in his pants.

"I let stuff get into my head and start wandering off thinking about dinner and noticing people in the crowd," he said.

"I talk to myself all the time. I probably do have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). I have never been tested by a doctor but I guess I do. I just can't sit still."

Irish Independent

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