Balicki: Memories of a young Bubba Watson
A number of years ago, before he made his way to the PGA Tour, Bubba Watson was playing the Nationwide Tour’s Rheem Classic at Hardscrabble Country Club in Fort Smith, Ark.
I happened to be at the event that week, working on a few future feature stories. During a Tuesday practice round, I was roaming the practice putting green, talking to a number of players whom I had gotten to know from their college days. Just as I was making my way across the green, heading back to the media center, I heard, “Hey, Ron.”
I stopped, turned and looked. It was Watson calling out to me.
“Don’t you want to talk to me?” I remember him saying.
I just smiled and answered jokingly, “Why would I want to talk to you?”
His reply, and one I will never forget, was, “Because I’m the best left-handed Bubba from Bagdad, Fla., in the field.”
I couldn’t help but laugh, and with an answer like that I knew I had to stop and talk to him. At the time, his claim to fame was a standout career at the University of Georgia (by way of Faulkner State Community College in Alabama).
I thought about that incident last week as I watched the Masters on television, especially the sudden-death finish at the 10th hole.
And I thought, well, Mr. Watson, you now are the only left-handed Bubba from Bagdad, Fla., to wear a green jacket at Augusta and carry the title of Masters champion.