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Bubba rises to the top

April 9, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

His is risen.

I spent the first two days at the U.S. Open in 2007 at Oakmont Country Club following Bubba Watson.

I was impressed not only with the way he played the game, but how he handled and carried himself.

A gentleman at all times that I saw.

He didn't win, but played in the final group on Saturday and eventually finished fifth. He was in the hunt and it was obvious he would be around the leaderboard when majors rolled around.

Bubba lost in the playoff at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in 2010, a major he sorely wanted to win as his father was losing his battle with cancer.

I was rooting for Phil Micklelson to win his fourth green jacket Sunday at Augusta National, but I was also pulling rather hard for the other left hander.

It is pure joy to watch Bubba play golf.

He has a pink shaft and pink head on his Ping driver.

He hits it a million miles and can seemingly play any golf shot.

Bubba followed his bogey at No. 12 with four straight birdies and eventually beat Louis Oosthuizen on the second playoff hole Easter Sunday with a brilliant 40-something yard hook from the pine straw on No. 10.

Watson has four wins, three coming in extra holes.

He's just good.

The 33-year-old from Bagdad, Fla. and his wife, Angie, whom he met at the University of Georgia, where he played golf and she basketball, just adopted a 1-month old baby boy named Caleb.

How sweet was his Easter Sunday?

After his emotional win, Watson moved to the Butler Cabin to take part in the made-for-television green jacket ceremony, which he received from last year's winner Charl Schwartzel.

Jim Nantz asked Bubba a question about his dreams as a little boy. "I never got this far in my dreams," he said.

What a great statement.

He is a humble man. A humble family man who loves God and, from everything I have read, well-liked on tour.

He showed class.

Of course, that was something that Tiger Woods did not show after he dropped his club and kicked it on the 16th tee Friday afternoon.

Tiger hasn't changed and never will.

"I apologize if I offend anybody by that, but I've hit some bad shots ..."

Tiger, no "buts" in an apology.

Then there is Mickelson, a guy who had the second-to-last tee time Thursday, but was on the first tee at 7:30 a.m. Thursday to watch Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus hit the ceremonial first tee shots.

Mickelson was there in his green jacket and was the only former winner to do so.

More class by Lefty.

One swing by Oosthuizen produced a 2 on the par 5 second hole, the fourth double eagle in Masters history and first on the hole. One swing by Phil produced a 6 on the par 3 fourth.

Golf amateurs really needed to watch how long it took Bubba to hit golf shots. When it's his turn, he's ready. Did you see how long it took him to hit his second shot on No. 18 in the playoff? If he can do it in a playoff at Augusta, you can do it at the local public course.

Pull the trigger people.

Went on Ping Golf website Sunday night about three hours after Bubba had won and there was nothing new on the site. I understand it's Easter Sunday, but, Ping, how do you not capitalize right then and there that you had two staff players in the playoff?

Someone can't change that from home?

Taylor Made CEO Mark King was on "Undercover Boss" Friday night.

He is a wonderful man and a great person.

I was able to play some golf with him when I was a golf pro in San Diego. He is a scratch golfer and a class man to be around.

I talked recently about how NFL teams have to choose, at some point in time, how much character means over talent in an individual.

Well, that's is taking place at the University of Arkansas with head coach Bobby Petrino's latest antics.

The answer from many Hog fans is "He won 11 games last year."

Yeah, but he crashed his motorcycle and lied about having a 26-year-old on the back.

"But, he won 11 games last year and we went to a BCS game the year before that."

On the back of that motorcycle was former Arkansas All-SEC volleyball player Jessica Dorrell. Petrino was placed on administrative leave, with pay, for lying that he was riding alone and for his inappropriate relationship with Dorrell.

"But, he won 11 games last year and we're supposed to be a top five team this year."

Character vs. wins.

Wins will win.

An NBC News producer was fired for editing a recording of George Zimmerman's call to the police the night he fatally shot Trayvon Martin.

That person should have been fired.

Last June, NBC's opening of its U.S. Open coverage Sunday from Congressional Country Club showed men from the military raising the American flag, showing monuments from Washington, D.C., while children recited the Pledge of Allegiance - all but three words - "under God" and "indivisible."

Not once, mind you, but twice.

NBC tried to save face, as if it cared, by issuing a statement on air Sunday that was read by commentator Dan Hicks, "We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago and when we did it was our intent to begin the coverage of this U.S. Open Championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being held in our nation's capital for the third time.

"Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we'd like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it."

Just wondering what happened to the people who made that decision?

I understand it's not apples to apples, just wondering though.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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