What’s really refreshing is that Bubba won it with his very own lop-sided, hack-kneed golf swing. It’s a homemade version that Bubba has “refined” since turning professional in 2003.
It’s almost like golf is saying, “Enough of these cookie-cutter golf swings and golf robots. Let’s get some fun, spice and personality back into this great game. Let’s shake things up a bit.” Golf, to my mind, HAS become way too boring and predictable.
The path to PGA success is this: Start the kids playing practicing at 4-6 years old, have a couple of wealthy parents who can shlep them across the country to every major junior tournament that means anything, send him/her to a world class golf school (a la Hank Haney, David Leadbetter, etc.), refine their swing so it looks (and works machine-like), rinse, repeat – you get the idea.
Whatever happened to the great Ben Hogan’s working philosophy, “digging it out in the dirt”? What about some of the older guys swing mechanics? people like Lee Trevino or Ray Floyd or Arnold. They all had unique swings that worked for them, that they could repeat under pressure.
It’s really quite amazing Bubba has never had a golf teacher or even a singular darn golf lesson. The guys above figured it out themselves. Just them, a golf ball and a place to hit. Seems to me they turned out pretty well.
If you corral a bunch of these old-timers, put them in a room and get them chatting about Bubba’s win and I’ll bet they’ll all have wry little smiles on their faces. They know that most of what it takes to be a champion is probably a bunch of bunk. They would probably ask “Where the hell were you when I was practicing in the dirt in some Mexican field while my hands were bleeding?”
It’s not all about mechanics and appearances and fancy equipment. It’s about something bigger. Something deeper. It’s about determination, persistence and heart. Ask any of the old-timers, they’ll tell you the real dope. Of what it takes to win on tour.
I’m not saying that’s all it takes. Bubba has God-given talent to hit the ball incredibly long and also to shape shots in ways some find m ind boggling but as I mentioned, and as we saw in the moments after the winning put dropped and in his ensuing press conference, the guy has a huge heart. He’s not afraid to show his emotions – to show his vulnerability.
Sure, watching some of his YouTube videos you could believe the guy is a bit goofy and unpredictable at times – but so what?! Isn’t it nice to have breath of fresh air blow through the too-often stale PGA Tour?
Gee, I was thinking on my drive to work this morning that its just so nice that golf has been opened a bit. That there’s hope for kids who want to play this great game but come from limited means or have heart, raw natural talent and a desire to succeed. That’s the bottom line, right?!
So maybe the African-American guy or gal in the Bronx could win the Masters or maybe some 250 pound Eskimo from Alaska or maybe some tiny Asian player who can crush the ball over 300 yards could become a Masters champion. Maybe even some tall, lanky kid nicknamed Bubba from the Florida Panhandle.