Waiting for golfo until Bubba and his blue glove save the day

Ryder Cup Wednesday was just moseying along until the American breezed in

 Bubba Watson talks to team-mate Jordan Spieth (not pictured) during a Ryder Cup press conference at  Le Golf National in  Paris. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Bubba Watson talks to team-mate Jordan Spieth (not pictured) during a Ryder Cup press conference at Le Golf National in Paris. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

 

Trust Bubba. Or Booba, as Justin Thomas delighted in telling us the American team are calling Bubba Watson, aping the accents of the French crowds. Truly, golf bantz is the worst bantz.

Anyway, the Wednesday of this Ryder Cup was moseying along in much the same sleepy manner as every other Ryder Cup Wednesday until Bubba took his seat in the interview room. The practice rounds were slow as sludge, the crowds were attachments for mobile phones, the captains had even less to say than on Tuesday. Nothing was happening, twice. Waiting for golfo.

Bubba is the sort of dude you want to, well, not hate exactly and not even dislike really . . . but certainly lampoon behind his back in a very golfy display of cheaply-earned cool. Famously, he missed the cut at the French Open here in 2011 and spluttered to the press afterwards about feeling homesick and having seen The Big Tower and some Arch or other and a museum that begins with L or something.

And so obviously once he settled into his seat, it wasn’t long before someone held his feet up to the fire over it all, essentially for our own entertainment if nothing much else. But you know what? Turns out he’s a very difficult chap to really and truly find a problem with. He sat on the stage and croaked his headcold-stricken way though his allotted 15 minutes and was perfectly charming and gauche and not-at-all hateable all the way through.

“It was sad,” he said, “that people wrote or took my comments or whatever I did – because I don’t really remember, it’s so long ago – but it was sad that they did that because I loved it. I’ve always loved it. I love travelling. I mean, that’s why I have played around the world, I love travelling and I love cultures.

Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson smile during practice for the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Paris. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson smile during practice for the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Paris. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

“Obviously Richard Mille [big-shot French watch designer] respects me enough to sign me to wear his watches. He has a lot of love for me. He understands that sometimes the media takes it a different way than it was meant to be. It was sad, but I learned from it. It made me mature as a person and understand that I’ve got to be more mature and more careful how I word things. Hopefully I worded all that right.”

Seriously, is there anyone else in world sport who could talk his way out of the notion that he had insulted a whole culture by pointing to the fact that someone pays him a lot of money to wear a watch? And who could do it honestly and genuinely and without coming across as a complete arse? You have to hand it to the guy.

Throughout, Bubba was wearing a blue glove on his right hand. When asked for an explanation, he brushed it off as one of the things teams do to entertain themselves. “Every time we have a team event, there’s people who’ve got to say so many words in interviews and people who’ve got to do something, we’ll say, dumb. So I said I’ve got to wear my glove the whole interview.”

So it’s like a bet or something?

“No bet,” he shrugged. “Gotta have something to do. Golf gets boring after a while.”

So it’s a forfeit?

“A forfeit? No, just being dumb. It’s like there’s a certain guy, I’m not going to say who, who had certain words to say in his interview. Who knows if he said them?”

What were the words?

“I don’t know. I was the glove guy.”

Bubba Watson during a Ryder Cup press conference at Le Golf National in Paris. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
Bubba Watson during a Ryder Cup press conference at Le Golf National in Paris. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

Later, when he was subjected to the same Tiger Woods question as everyone else who has sat in front of a microphone this week, he went off on a tangent about how cool it is to get into Woods’s circle every now and then.

“I would have been more upset if he didn’t show emotion, you know? I would have definitely texted him. I only get his number during team events. He blocks me during the regular part of the season because I send dumb texts. It’s always nice leading up to the event knowing that I’m on the team so I can get his number.”

By now, Jordan Spieth was sitting in the third row of the press seats waiting for his turn on the stage. Watson’s last question brought forth his most interesting answer, along the lines of what it was like comparing his game to that of Bryson DeChambeau, who he had played with in the morning.

“I know it’s not going to sound right, but we actually go about it the same way. He’s looking at something and looking at the numbers, trying to get the exact numbers, how to create a shot. He’s very feel-oriented, it’s just he’s talking about the numbers and he’s looking at the numbers.

“I’m looking at the ground. I’m looking at obstacles in front of me and attacking it that way. But yeah, it was just he uses a lot bigger words than I would use. I shorten it up.”

As he made his way off the stage, Spieth couldn’t resist the one-liner. “You might use short words but you use a lot of them.”

When we mentioned the glove to Spieth, he hadn’t the first notion what we were on about. “He just was in the lockerroom and said, ‘I think I’m going to wear my glove in media’.”

Good for you Bubba. Shine on you crazy, likeable bastard.

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