Three Things you can learn from Bubba Watson!
The Masters Championship of 2012 was another theater for great golf and all eyes of the golfing world watched Bubba Watson win his first major championship in totally unique fashion. From his all-white outfits to his pink driver, Bubba managed his emotions and his game to win one of golf’s greatest tournaments amidst at least a dozen contenders who had an equal chance to put their name on the winner’s trophy at the end of the day. However, even though Bubba was playing in one of the last groups of the day, not many had really given him a chance to close the deal and win. The smart bettors were placing their hopes and chances on Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood. All of these names are great performers who had either won major championships before or had many other major championship high finishes. What was it that Bubba did that allowed him to win and how could you apply his mindset to win on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour or in your upcoming spring and summer tournaments? I have identified three key components that you can learn from Bubba that you can apply immediately to your game and I am sure that it will help you close your deal on your events or at least put you in contention to play your best this year! Three Things You can Learn From Bubba Watson!1. Play your own game.
Perhaps more so than any other player on tour besides Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson does things his own way. His swing is home grown and he has never had a series of formal lessons from established swing gurus. He plays mostly on feel and his own inner creativity. His swing is not classical but gets the job done. He swings hard but remains on balance and the ball goes where he wants it to go. On why he has never taken a lesson, he simply responds with the notion that he doesn’t want to take away from his natural athleticism and childlike freedom to swing the club. Nowhere was this more evident than on the 10th hole of the playoff with Louis Oosthuizen. Bubba had driven his shot deep into the pine trees off of the fairway and had 164 yards to the green. Having virtually no shot, he saw an opening of around fifteen feet in front of him but he had to hook an iron at least 40 yards. Bubba said: “I was walking up to my ball and I had this crazy shot in my head....so I thought...let’s go with it”......the rest is golfing history. The ball landed on the green which allowed Bubba to two-putt for his first major. Bubba Watson has a name that is unique that matches his style of play and approach to life. True to his unique style, Bubba simply lets go of what everyone else does and plays golf the “Bubba Way”. The point is this: When you play your own game....it is yours. You create it, you develop it and then you take ownership of it. It works for Bubba and it will work for you as well! 2. Let go of what others are doing around you.
Bubba Watson was playing with former major champion Louis Oosthuizen from South Africa during the final round. Louis is known as a solid and classic player who doesn’t create a lot of unforced errors during his rounds. He is a model of consistency and machine-like efficiency with his golfing motion. Nowhere was this evidenced greater than on the second hole at Augusta National which is a 545 yard, par 5 dogleg. Louis was hitting a four iron approach shot that was hit a distance of 235 yards that struck the front of the green and then eventually rolled all the way into the hole for a double eagle! This was one of the greatest and most astounding shots in Masters history and it was happening immediately in front of Bubba. In fact, it was the first albatross (double eagle) that had ever been recorded on Masters Television coverage! Smiling and appreciative of Louis’s accomplishment, Bubba congratulated Louis and went on to do his own thing and play his shots into the green as well. His focus was to keep on playing his game and to let go of others and what they may or may not be doing. Bubba did not allow the moment to take him out of what he needed to be doing. It would have been so easy for Bubba to think that this was a great sign for Louis and that it was to be “his day” and simply melt away in all of the excitement. But he managed to continue to play his game and eventually put himself into a playoff at the end of regulation. The point here is that many times during a round of golf, players around you will be hot and cold. Let go of them and what they are doing and get into doing your own thing. By letting go of others and doing his own thing allowed Bubba to put on the green jacket at the end of the day! 3. Golf is a game of patience!
The final round of any golf tournament has many highs and lows and when you are coming down the stretch, any of a number of things can happen and most certainly will! When Bubba Watson started his day, he was a few strokes back of the leaders. But what Bubba and any great tournament player knows..... the golf tournament is not over ........until it is completely over! That is why you cannot give up during the early or mid-stages of a round when things are not going your way because every stroke is vitally important and you do not know when and where you can get hot and create some positive momentum! Most major championships are not usually won by a player going out and shooting a low number, but the player who stays patient and hangs in there and makes every shot count is the player who normally hoists the trophy at the end. Why is this? The reason is that many players start to look at the leaderboards or hear what others are doing and panic and make unforced mental and physical errors which lead to high scores. If they had the mental attitude to remain calm and patient, they would understand that most major championships are usually won by the player who stays calm and patient and know that making the smallest number they can is usually much better than forcing the issue!. During the final round when everyone started to make their moves up the Masters leader board, Bubba Watson stayed true to his golfing self and plodded along and made the lowest score he could on every hole. He admitted to being totally committed to each shot during the final round and then commented when it was all over: “I really don’t remember that much on the back nine....I was in a fog it seemed”. What he was really saying is that he was immersed in doing what Bubba does best and that is to play his game and stay patient the entire day. What you must remember is that at Augusta National Golf Club during the Masters, it is so loud and thunderous, that you can hear and see what many players are doing. It is so easy to let your mind wander and feel that you “have to do something special” to get yourself into the mix. Bubba proved that by staying emotionally calm (or at least as level-headed as you can possibly be in this pressure cooker) leads to good things. Being patient is waiting for good things to happen and by staying patient and in the moment...good things usually show up! A Final Word from Dr. Bob Congratulations to Bubba Watson for winning his first major at the Masters Golf Tournament! Remember, if you can play your own game, let go of the others around you and stay patient with what you can control, you will find yourself hoisting a lot more silver as this year goes along! If you would like to work with me and find a way to elevate your mental game to the next level, please call me at 407-340-7785 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I look forward to hearing from you!
May you always be the master of your golfing mind!
Dr. Bob Winters
HJGT Mental Game Consultant
© Copyright Dr. Bob Winters, 2012