Monday, April 9, 2012

Bubba Watson

Gerry Lester "Bubba" Watson, Jr. (born November 5, 1978 in Bagdad, Florida) is an American professional golfer who won the 2012 Masters Tournament. Watson is one of the few left-handed golfers on tour and is known for his tremendous length. The longest driver on the PGA Tour, in 2007 he had an average drive of 315.2 yards and is capable of generating a ball speed of 194 mph, being one of the few players who can hit a ball over 350 yards. He has been featured in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings. Watson won the 2012 Masters Tournament after defeating Louis Oosthuizen in a sudden death play-off.

Watson turned professional in 2003 and joined the Nationwide Tour where he played until 2005. He finished 21st on the Nationwide Tour's money list in 2005, making him the last player to qualify for the 2006 PGA Tour. As a rookie on the PGA Tour, he earned $1,019,264 (90th overall) and led the PGA Tour in driving distance (319.6 yards). His longest ever drive on the PGA Tour was a 416 yard drive at the 2010 Sony Open. His longest drive in professional competition was a 422 yard drive on the Nationwide Tour.

Watson played well at the 2007 U.S. Open. He was in the final group on Saturday after shooting rounds of 70–71 (+1) at Oakmont Country Club. He was one stroke off the lead at the start of the third round but then slipped, shooting 74 (+4) in the third and fourth rounds. He finished in a tie for fifth.

Watson claimed his first PGA Tour win on June 27, 2010 in Cromwell, Connecticut at the Travelers Championship in a two-hole sudden death playoff, beating Corey Pavin and Scott Verplank. Watson tearfully dedicated the win to his parents, specifically his father who was battling cancer.

Watson was runner-up to Martin Kaymer at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, after losing a playoff that was initially also going to include Dustin Johnson before he was given a two stroke penalty. Watson led the playoff after the first hole but, Watson hit his 2nd shot in the water hazard at the last hole. Kaymer eventually defeated him by one stroke on the third and final hole.

Watson had his own clothing line called Bubba Golf at the former Steve & Barry's. He was invited on the Ellen Degeneres show after he sent her a video of a golf trick shot he completed for her birthday.

On January 30, 2011, Watson won his second PGA Tour event, the Farmers Insurance Open, beating Phil Mickelson by one stroke. Watson picked up his second win of the 2011 season and third career PGA Tour title on May 1 when he defeated Webb Simpson at the second playoff hole at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. On the first playoff hole, both players made birdies with Watson holing a 12 footer to take them into a second playoff hole. At the second playoff hole Watson made a birdie again to win the tournament, whereas the best Simpson could manage was a par.

In July 2011, Watson provoked controversy by criticizing the Alstom Open de France, in which he was playing under a sponsor's exemption; he indicated after his first round that he would not be playing any further events on the European Tour, and complained after his second round about security and organization at the tournament.

Watson took part in the Long Drive Contest for charity at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions alongside Dustin Johnson and Robert Garrigus. He finished in second place, with a longest drive of 370 yards behind a drive of over 400 yards by Jamie Sadlowski.

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