The Story of Bubba

His name is Bubba Watson, a professional golfer in the PGA but his article isn’t about golf. Essentially, he’s playing the same game that he honed since the age of 6 when would hit plastic golf balls with a 9-iron in the windy Florida Panhandle. He’s never had a coach, trainer, nutritionist or sport psychologist. Tiger Woods’ advice is the only one that he will accept. He’s a frequent playing partner of Woods in practice sessions. He’s led the PGA Tour in driving distance for three straight years but what sets him apart is his dramatic ability to shape shots more than any other player … including Woods. He says “the lines and shapes Bubba takes, sometimes I can’t see them myself until he hits them.” A swing coach, Sean Foley, states “Bubba can swing the way he does because his whole process is out there – where he wants the ball to go. So many players, their process is in here – all about some part of their swing. The freedom is lost because they don’t even know where they’re going.”

Consistent with his propensity for extremes, he’s perhaps the most distractible, impatient, mentally fragile player on the tour. “My mind just wanders. I’m thinking about what shoes I’m going to buy … man, I need to wash my car. I’m thinking about stuff that doesn’t’ matter, because we’re out there for so long.” He perennially leads his peers in eagles, but he also makes more of the mistakes that lead to careless bogeys, as his poor ranking indicates. Like many who are so gifted, he comes across as cocky but beneath the bravado lurks insecurity. He admits “I would love to be the best golfer who ever walked the planet” and when asked about the contradiction, he laughs and says “Yeah, I’ve got issues.” his wife, Angie, a former professional basketball player indicates that “Bubba is amazingly talented in almost everything he tries, I just try to help him direct his energy in a productive way.: When told that he might have ADD, he replied “I’m sure I have it” to which his wife adds “Oh don’t worry, you have it.” He’s never won a major tournament.

Dr. Edward Hallowell, a leading expert on ADD, suspects that some of the greatest minds in history – including Einstein, Shakespeare and Mozart – had the condition which enhanced their creativity. Why? People with ADD live their everyday existence in a state of jagged disorder including restlessness and an inability to sustain concentration. As a result, they hunger for structure in life. Whatever endeavor offers that structure is met with a great deal of passion leading to their excelling. Because they are so used to adapting to disorder, they develop a heightened ability to make connections, which when unleashed within a structure can lead to extraordinary insights, solutions and innovations. “Golf is the perfect ADD sport combining structure with novelty.” It has all of this structure – rules, etiquette, difficulty of play, exactness of the swing and the meticulousness to put the ball into the hole. Distractibility, impatience and anger tend to hold people and golfers back. The less a person is aware of the condition, the more likely they will remain stuck in unproductive patterns. Hallowell says “the key symptom of adult ADD is unexplained underachievement.”

Bubba’s father said “We were mostly free spirits, not like Navy Seals, where everyone looks alike. So I didn’t have a lot of rules for Bubba other than ‘Don’t lie.’ His mother and I played it by ear but we realized he was a good person who loved golf and we let him be himself.” Tiger is the way that Bubba has chosen to learn and he’s learned that you have to be a mature person to play this game really well. For Bubba, that means continuing to deal with his issues and never losing touch with the little boy within.

(4 April 2012)


Both as a consultant and author, Charles Bonasera’s story-telling have motivated people to change patterns and resolve problems in their lives. All of his books contain valuable, practical lessons that people can easily apply to bettering and managing their lifestyles. He has also written a myriad of articles which can be found on his website at www.charlesmbonasera.com.

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