For me the most fascinating element of the growing Bubba Watson legend is the notion that he has never had a formal golf lesson.
The commentators kept talking about it as I watched coverage of the Masters yesterday and even Piers Morgan got in on it, saying on Twitter:
“Amazing – @bubbawatson has NEVER had a golf lesson NOR seen his swing on video, and may be about to win the #Masters – natural born genius.”
Today Bubba himself confirmed it via Twitter (@bubbawatson), saying:
“@yatesy_boy I never had a lesson.”
And Bubba’s > personal website further explains it:
“Bubba grew up the small town of Bagdad Florida where he began the game of golf at age 6. He was given a cut down 9-iron from his father and learned to play the game by hitting wiffle-balls around the house. More interestingly, the only golf lesson Bubba received was from his father at a very young age and he has not had a lesson since. He is truly a self-taught golfer.”
It’s kind of hard to believe and flies in the face of all of the specialized coaching and analysis and technology that has been brought to bear on the modern game of golf – and indeed all sports.
But you know what? It doesn’t surprise us here at Bestplayerintheworld. In fact, it feeds right into our > “Big Theory” about performance across all sports and pursuits.
The thing we are starting to believe is that it isn’t really clear which elements produce excellence and champions. While it might be true that one golfer’s career was built on “lessons”, it might also be true that Bubba Watson’s was founded on something else.
The question of the moment of course is: what is that “something else” that produced the 2012 Masters champion?
I will bet you that Bubba’s success had something to do with putting in his Gladwellian > 10,000 hours and his Ericssonian > Deliberate Practice but…there has to be something a little more to it than that. Don’t you think?
Otherwise our “Big Theory” wouldn’t be so big, would it?
Related > Photo: Bubba Watson wears the Green Jacket #greenjacket