Bubba Watson, with two PGA Tour wins already this year, leads the FedEx Cup points race and is second on the money list. Yet he has never had a golf lesson. “No sir, I never felt the need for it,” he told me recently. “I never will take a lesson. If I start playing bad golf, I’ll just have to find me a new job.”
Watson avoids lessons, he said, because he doesn’t want to turn the game into a grind. “I just want to play golf and have fun with it,” he explained.
At this point in his career (Watson is 32), that’s probably just as well. It’s hard to imagine how a teacher could even begin to “correct” Watson’s swing. It’s a quirky, wristy, vertical and extremely violent motion that he hasn’t fiddled with much since he figured out how to make whiffle balls curve (in both directions) around his boyhood home in rural Florida. Watson ranks first on Tour in greens in regulation, a testament to his accuracy, and second in driving distance.
“He’s smart not to have anybody mess with his game,” instructor Butch Harmon told me. “You wouldn’t necessarily teach anybody to swing like that, but he knows what he wants to do with the ball, he knows how to do it, and he’s been very successful. If the ball is reacting properly, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. That’s your swing and that’s what you should stick with.”
There’s wisdom here for everyday players. As much as the media likes to focus on players with joined-at-the-hip instructors