CHARLOTTE, N.C.—On the fourth green early Wednesday morning at Quail Hollow, Bubba Watson turned his back to the hole, putted the ball up a big slope and watched it trickle back down toward the hole.
The crowd started cheering as the ball inched closer and closer to the hole. Watson pulled out the flagstick, stuck his arms in the air and smiled when the ball found the bottom of the cup.
“I was just being dumb,” Watson said after the pro-am. “I knew it was going to come back to the hole. I didn’t think I could make it, and make it on the first try, but somehow it went in.”
What Watson calls “being dumb” is another way of saying he’s just trying to have fun. And it’s a key reason why he’s won three times in the last year, earned a spot on last year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team and now sits at No. 10 in the World Golf Rankings.
Watson will have plenty of chances to have fun this week at the Wells Fargo Championship, where he tied for second in 2009. He’s staying at his lake house in Lexington, N.C., where Watson and his wife, Angie, love to let loose on their jet skis and pass the time with friends.
Watson’s caddie, Ted Scott, says the downtime will help Watson relax and unwind after winning last week in a playoff at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, his second win of the season.
“He’s a real creative person, and he’s got a real fast mind,” Scott said. “And to do those things makes the day go by, and keeps him loose, so I think it’s real important for him. He enjoys life.”
After his win on Sunday, Watson traveled to Athens, Ga., where he served as an honorary co-chair of the Nationwide Tour’s Stadion Classic on Tuesday with Chip Beck. Watson also donated $50,000 to jump start a Play Golf America program at the University of Georgia, his alma mater.
Watson had a 7:30 a.m. pro-am tee time Wednesday morning here in Charlotte, but first, of course, he had to have some fun.
“Now heading back to my lake house for jet ski time!!!! #marquisjet,” Watson tweeted Tuesday to his more than 122,000 followers.
Despite the hour drive from his lake house to Quail Hollow for his early tee time, Watson did his best to continue the good times during his Wednesday pro-am. He chatted and joked with his amateur partners Andy Warlick and Marc Watts, carved a fairway wood right-to-left from behind a tree, and wowed the gallery when he smoked a driver off the deck at the 566-yard, par-5 15th.
“I’m just having fun,” Watson said. “In the whole grand scheme of things in life, golf means nothing. It’s what we call my job, but if I’m not playing on Tour, I’m playing golf at home. I’m playing golf no matter if it’s for a living, or if it’s for fun.”
But even for Bubba, the fun has to stop some time if he wants to try and win his third tournament of the season this week at Quail Hollow.
“As soon as I am done [talking to the media] I am going home and going to sleep,” Watson said.