Since childhood, Bubba Watson, who was born in 1978 as Gerry Lester Watson Jr., always dreamed of playing pro golf, but he never thought he would go as far as the Masters. Although it was no big surprise to anyone who knew him, that dream would take him all the way to the top-level of golf. He started on the international tour in 2001, and won the 2012 and 2014 Masters tournaments.
The golf star grew up in Bagdad, Florida, and as a very young child, developed a passion for the game when he accompanied his father, Gerry Watson Sr., to the golf course. As a young child prodigy, he spent years in his own yard playing with his toy golf clubs, hitting the plastic balls around the yard. The golf pro said he was not interested in playing with cars and trucks; he only wanted his golf clubs.
Watson dreamed very early that he wanted to play professionally, and started playing on the international circuit in 2001, but he did not perform very well, so his expectations of going to the Masters were not very high. Three years later, however, he had an increase in momentum and came in second place twice. The following year, he played even better, entering almost 25 events, nine of which were golf’s biggest, and placing in the top 10 five times.
Watson, who is left-handed, moved up to the PGA tour in 2006, earned over $1 million in the tour that year, and also finished third in the Chrysler Tucson early in the year. In June 2010, he won his first title at the Travelers Championship, and dedicated his victory to his father, who was fighting cancer at the time. Five months later, he was picked to play in the well-respected Ryder Cup. Shortly after the Ryder Championship, he lost his father, and he tweeted how his best year had turned into his worst year.
The next year, he would add two more titles to his list of tour accomplishments, winning the Farmers Insurance Open in the beginning of the year and, four months later, winning the Zurich Classic in May. He also had an amazing win at the Masters Tournament in 2012, playing a sudden death match with Louis Oothuizen from South Africa. It was his notable swing from the woods that won him the honor of wearing the green jacket and holding the title. Tiger Woods was one of the people who congratulated him, as was Tim Tebow, the football player.
The Masters was an especially emotional win, because it meant that he had earned a place in the
top level of the golf world. Watson said when he was young, he dreamed of being a pro golfer, but never thought he would go so far, so he could not say it was a dream come true. He added that he just wanted to keep on playing golf as passionately as he was, and continue to do so .
In 2014, Watson added a second Masters title to his trophy wall, finishing with a 69 at Augusta National Golf Club. In a three-year span, Watson won two titles, an accomplishment
only achieved by three other golf pros, namely Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods.
He and his wife met in college in Georgia, and have a young son, who they adopted
. Watson dreamed of being a pro golfer when he was just a child, and one can only wonder if his son will follow in his footsteps. It is said that he got his nickname, “Bubba”, from his dad, because he was born with such a chubby face that he reminded his father of Bubba Smith. On Saturday, June 27, 2015, he tweeted a video of himself making an impossible shot while practicing before a tournament, smiling at the camera and saying, “You’re welcome.”
Commentary by Katherine Miller-Chichester
Edited by Jennifer Pfalz
biography.com: Bubba Watson
NBC golf: Bubba ‘Not enough birdies’ in Saturday 68
Bubbawatsongolf.com: Bubba Watson
Photo Courtesy of Tour Pro golf pro’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons Licesnse