No one could wipe the smile off Gerry ‘Bubba’ Watson’s face after recently claiming his second green jacket in three years as the winner of the 2014 US Masters
Two Masters wins in three years is a rare feat in this professional sport, and what makes it even rarer is that he is a left hander who has never had a golf lesson in his life.
"It is almost like I lucked into it (the 2012 victory). This one was a lot of hard work and dedication and after losing that jacket last year I wanted to get it back," Bubba explains.
Looking back at the miracle shot that won him the 2012 Golf Masters, Bubba wiped away tears at the press conference after his first victory, as he shared about what he truly valued in life. He acknowledged that he was getting to a place in his life, where he finally understood what golf means to him.
Anyone who follows "Wacky Watson" on Twitter or in the media will know that his eccentric personality, hot pink shafted driver and cheeky antics come up second to his open love for Jesus.
Bubba’s eccentric personality, hot pink shafted driver and cheeky antics come up second to his open love for JesusBubba did not grow up in a Christian home in Florida, but he says he always felt that he was one of the good guys because he never cussed, cheated, stole, drank or did drugs.
It was not until his senior year in high school when his neighbors invited him to their youth group that he heard that being 'good' would not cut it.
Bubba was confronted with the fact that God demanded perfection and that the only way to achieve this was through Jesus who, as God in human form, lived a perfect life and died a torturous death in place of him.
"After a few times of going to the youth group I realized: This is truth here. And I gave myself to the Lord," he says.
Despite praying to accept Jesus into his life, the pressures of starting a professional golfing career distracted him from making God a priority until he began dating former WNBA player Angie Ball in college.
"We wanted to be Christ followers," he says.
"We wanted to do the right thing. We started turning to the Lord for our decisions."
The couple soon married and Bubba says the decision to put God first in their lives significantly shaped him into the man he is today.
It has not always been a smooth road since then with the death of Bubba's father from throat cancer and the couple's inability to have children of their own.
Even on the golf course Bubba says drives into the rough, 5-inch stuff or birdie putts rimming out would be enough to send his blood pressure soaring and he became known for his temper on the green.
"I was so wrapped up in 'Why am I not winning?' and it created frustrations in my head and in my life," he says.
"That was my biggest hurdle trying to get over. Now when I do it, the first thing I do is pray and tell the Lord I'm trying to get better...I'm always taking steps back, but hopefully I take more steps forward."
Nowadays, Bubba is involved in Bible studies with other golfers and says it helps him stay connected with God.
"Now you know other people you can talk to, ask questions of, tell them what you're thinking, tell them what's going on in your life," he says.
"I'm getting more into the Word (the Bible) and realizing that golf is just an avenue for Jesus to use me to share what it is to be a Christian, with as many people as I can."
He adds that the special thing about being a Christian is that "nothing is too big for God and we can't comprehend that because He is the Almighty."
"Just because our plan is easier doesn't mean anything, because His plan is best," Bubba says.
"We may struggle, but what's really a struggle, when you know you are going to heaven? If I never won a golf tournament or if I never made the PGA Tour, and still made it to heaven – that's the most important thing."