Friday, December 11, 2009
Bacon and Bubba
Those were the two words that popped in my head the first time Bubba Watson hit a drive at TPC Scottsdale. You need to understand something so that these words truly sink in. I hit the ball over 300 yards. I have played with guys that can do all sorts of things with the golf ball. Length is something that doesn't impress me. It's just a skill, like putting, that people tend to overrate (whereas, putting should be overrated but rarely is).
All of that didn't matter when Bubba took his first swing on the par-4 8th hole, our first hole of the Birdies for the Brave scramble that Watson so graciously asked me to attend.
"Holy shit." He pummeled it. Absolutely pissed on the golf ball. Color me impressed.
And so our journey began. Bubba, his wonderful wife Angie, and Chad Martin, a business associate of Bubbas who couldn't have been nicer throughout the day as we tried to retain our manhood and win a random scramble for a great cause.
The first hole was shaky, I must admit. My drive sailed right, an area I hardly ever find (naturally left-handed cutter of the ball) and Bubba made the initial birdie all on his own. That didn't stop us from making 11 more, with four eagles and two pars, and finishing a salty 20-under par to take the title by five shots.
A few interesting things that happened during the day.
First, the group in front of us must have began the free beer very early because they challenged us to a drink after the round for low score. I wantd to scream, "Guys, this is Bubba Watson here!" but I didn't, and we smoked 'em.
After our second hole, I settled down and started making some decent swings. That first decent swing came on the par-4 10th hole, our third, when we actually took my drive over Bubbas because it had a better angle into the pin and was only a couple of yards behind his. Yep, that's right. (But to be fair to Mr. Watson, the forecaddie told us his landed on an upslope and barely moved, while mine rolled out.)
I hit my driver really well the rest of the day, giving Bubba the ability to, and I quote him, "hit a draw on this one." Basically, Bubba doesn't hit a draw, and when he says he's "hitting a draw on this one" it means the ball might move a yard left to right, and that's pushing it (no pun intended). No matter, when he "draws" it, he absolutely murders it, as defined by our last hole. Playing around 365 yards, I hit the best drive of my day, leaving the ball about 40 yards short of the green. Bubba "drew" his, forcing our forecaddie to scream "FORE GREEN!" to the guys putting out before his ball landed a yard short of the putting surface, ending up in a bunker (that he nearly holed for a two).
Bubba's wife Angie's putter could have been the answer for cold fusion on Friday at TPC. That thing was so hot I was scared to park my cart close to it. Seriously. She made 5-7 of our birdie putts, and these weren't always tap-ins. Most were between 6-12 feet, and she calmly rolled them in like it was another day at the office. Very impressive, and her golf game is something to be proud of.
Bubba's putter wasn't far behind. That thing was clutch, but the more amazing thing were the putts he didn't make. Both were perfectly on line to where he wanted to him him, with the alignment line pointing straight at the hole the entire time.
The entire thing was fun, but maybe one of the best moments came on the 18th hole, when a few ladies were at a table asking for some money for our troops. The gist of the deal was this -- give at least $20 to the troops, and no matter how you hit your tee shot, you get to drop it by J.B. Holmes' famous tee shot on the 18th when he flew it over 350-yards.
The ladies obviously didn't know who Bubba was, and when he dropped a Benjamin with a smile, they were grateful. I hit a monster drive, that came up short of Holmes by a few yards (and we were playing a set of tees up). Bubba went after one, flying Holmes spot and joking after, "You should tell people for $30, they can drop it by Bubba."
A good day on the links.