Bubba Watson is one of the most controversial pro-golfers of our time. But there are few things about Bubba Watson many don’t know.
Bubba Watson believes in God. And if you meet him in person, you’ll quickly learn that he’s unashamed to tell you so.
But Watson doesn’t claim to be a perfect Christian. In a recent interview, the two-time Masters Tournament winner admitted to many shortcomings and personal failures throughout his life and career. Watson shared that many of his life’s deepest struggles are what caused him to turn to Christ.
He’s notoriously known for frequently sporting a hot pink golf club, driving a hovercraft instead of a golf cart, and proudly showing off his adorable family.
From the outside looking in, it would seem that Bubba Watson has it all. But the pro-golfer hasn’t always had it easy.
Growing up, Watson was crippled by dozens of irrational fears, and struggled severely with insecurity. Many of those fears, still haunt him to this day.
“I have a lot of fears in my life, which, as I’m reading the Bible, I’m not supposed to have — but I do. I have a lot of mental issues … I’m just so fearful of things, which I shouldn’t be. Scared of heights … buildings falling on me … the dark. Scared of crowds… In between holes is really scary to me, because there’s so many people that close to you. I’m just scared of people … in general,” Watson told the New York Times.
Named after his father, Gerry Lester Watson, Jr., He was nicknamed ‘Bubba’ as a youngster because his dad thought he looked like the NFL star, Bubba Smith.
And his nickname proves to be just as colorful as his personality. Thirty-seven-year-old Bubba Watson is a left-handed, self-taught, pro-golfer with one of the most polarizing personalities in golf. By definition, Bubba Watson is living proof of the American dream in its truest form.
Watson single-handedly invented a new form of golf, known as “Bubba golf” which consists of violently smacking the ball, with a certain level of uncertainty only Bubba Watson himself can manage. It was this unique form of golf that would eventually help the talented, but unconventional golfer bring home two green jackets.
Watson was born and raised in Bagdad, Florida, near Pensacola. The pro-golfer grew up in a poor family — wearing knickers hand-sewn by his grandmother until he was twelve. He was given a cut-down 9-iron from his father, and learned to play golf by hitting a wiffle ball around the house.
At age six, Watson would rush to finish his homework so he could spend the rest of his evening curving those plastic wiffle balls — left and right — around his parent’s house.
“Instead of playing with trucks out in the yard, I’d play with a ball and a club. To hit a Wiffle ball 5 feet farther, 10 feet farther, you over-swing, then to move it under trees, over trees, around my house, I just started drawing it because of my wrists. As a kid, you don’t think of the mechanics and I have to get my grip this way or be stronger or weaker. You just think, ‘I did this and it went that way.’ So that’s how I did it, by practicing feel. So now my shots are all feel.”
Perhaps the most interesting fact about the self-made golfer is that to this day, the only golf lesson Bubba received was from his father at a very young age, and he has not had another since. Watson’s father, Gerry Watson, tragically died of throat cancer in 2010.
Watson choked back the tears as he spoke of his father — his only coach and golf confidant: “He was a military man. In public he wanted to be seen as tough, but behind closed doors he was the softest, kindest man. My dad was always there to pick me up. He let me fail on my own and excel on my own.”
Bubba continued crafting his golf game through middle school and high school and eventually earned himself a golf scholarship to the University of Georgia. While there, Watson helped lead the Bulldogs to an SEC title.
Green after green, Bubba’s golf game continued to thrive. But all the while, he was losing a more important game — in his mind.
Bubba struggled with insecurity, he would have devastating meltdowns after a bad shot, and looked for people to blame when things went wrong. With every shot, Bubba grew seemingly out of control.
But perhaps the most important thing that happened in college, took place off the green. It was there, at the University of Georgia, that Bubba met the love of his life and the one who encouraged him to turn to Christ — a 6ft. 4in. Canadian named Angela, also known as “Angie”.
The lovebirds met in college where Bubba was on the golf team and Angie was on the women’s basketball team. Since their very first date, the dynamic duo was virtually inseparable. They tied the knot on September 1st, 2004.
Over the years, Bubba began to realize that the Lord was sending people to help him, and it wasn’t long before Bubba decided to rededicate his life to the Lord.
Watson told BillyGraham.org that he’s “getting more in the Word and realizing that golf is just an avenue for Jesus to use me to reach as many people as I can.”
With the help of his wife, his faithful caddie, and fellow Christian golfers (who meet weekly at a PGA Bible study), Watson admits that God has helped — and continued to help — him overcome the temperamental side of his personality.
“I’ve been reading my Bible and growing stronger and stronger in my Faith. Me changing as a person has helped my golf, not my swing. We’ve been working on it, a hard, slow process. Instead of swing thoughts and swing, it’s all about the mind for me. It’s staying patient, and having Teddy (the caddie) in my ear. Teddy’s been a blessing. It’s been a struggle over five years, but we’re working in the right direction,” Watson said in Golf Digest.
Today, Watson isn’t ashamed of his Faith in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. After he won the Masters Tournament at Augusta for the first time in 2012, Bubba was quick to give all glory to God and said, “I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
And Bubba’s social media accounts are pretty straight-forward about his Faith as well. Followed by 1.56 million on Twitter, @bubbawatson describes himself in this order: “Christian. Husband. Daddy. Pro Golfer.”
Sometimes he’ll Tweet out some of his favorite verses: “Hebrews 13:6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”
When someone tells him, “Your God Tweets are lame,” Watson responds with, “I will pray for u and ur family.”
Second only to Christ, Bubba considers himself a family man. But starting a family hasn’t been easy for the Watsons.
Since their first date, Angie was upfront with Bubba and told him that she had various health issues. And in 2009, Bubba’s worst fears were realized when Angie was diagnosed with a life-threatening enlarged pituitary gland, which shook Bubba to the core and pushed him towards Christ more than ever before.
Thankfully, Angie got a second opinion and overcame many of her terrifying health issues — all but one: the ability to have children.
But Bubba remained unshaken in Christ, “That’s fine,” he said. “If God tells us He wants us to adopt, we’ll adopt.”
One week after a potential adoption fell through at the last moment, Bubba and Angie’s prayers were finally answered. A birthmother had chosen the Watsons out of a stack of hopeful parents.
In March of 2012, the joyous couple adopted a one-month-old baby boy named Caleb. Just thirteen days later, Watson won the Masters Tournament.
Angie shared, “When the final putt went in and he won, the only thing I could think about was ‘Oh my gosh, we’re going to be able to tell our son that his daddy won the Masters the week that we adopted him,’” said Angie, who watched on television with Caleb falling asleep on her shoulder. “That thought just came to the forefront.”
As challenging as it was to suddenly become a father, as well as gain Masters super-stardom within the same two-week span, the Watsons were confident that it was all a part of God’s plan.
“I think the Lord’s timing was just absolutely perfect for us… It kept us humble and kept us grounded.”
In late 2014, the Lord brought the Watsons another child, this time, they adopted a beautiful baby girl named Dakota.
Despite earning two green jackets, winning multiple major championships, and reaching 2nd place in the Official World Golf Ranking; Bubba Watson considers sharing the Gospel his greatest privilege.
Watson shared, “For me, it’s just showing the Light. There’s people who want to put down Christians. I try to tell them Jesus loves you. It’s just a way to be strong in my faith…
Lecrae said it the best. He doesn’t want to be a celebrity. He doesn’t want to be a superstar. He just wants to be the middle man for you to see God through him.”
Watson’s life is living proof that God always uses imperfect vessels to share His perfect message of Love. While listening to Bubba Watson’s inspiring story, I just couldn’t help but think of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, which reads:
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Thank you, Bubba Watson, for sharing your inspiring message of Grace! America needs more men of Faith like you! Please share if you agree!