Bubba Watson's 2nd Green Jacket Puts Him into Rarefied Air of Golf Hierarchy

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 14, 2014

Bubba Watson waves after being presented with his green jacket after winning the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 13, 2014, in Augusta, Ga.  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip

Never in a million years would you have thought the golf world would be bowing down to a man named "Bubba."

Bubba Watson won his second Masters title in a space of three years. It only took him six years to get two green jackets, which puts him into the same company as Arnold Palmer, per SportsCenter:

As you'd expect, he was struggling to grapple with the enormity of the situation after the event was over.

"It's overwhelming," he said, per ESPN.com's Bob Harig. "To win twice, to be with those great names. ... A small-town guy named Bubba now has two green jackets. It's pretty wild."

Even Rafael Nadal voiced his appreciation of Watson's effort:

Winning one green jacket is undoubtedly a massive career accomplishment. Few, if any, other tournaments in the sport are held to the same standard as the Masters are. When you look back on a golfer's legacy, the number of times he's won in Augusta is used as one of the standards of measurement to differentiate from one guy to the next.

That's why Watson's second win is so impressive. At just 35 years old, he's conquered one of the toughest courses in the world not once, but twice. He's close to going from simply being a star to a made man—the kind of category reserved for guys like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in the present day.

What also helps to build Watson's legacy—if you can call it that at such an early stage in his professional career—is how unique a golfer he is.

Watson is self-taught, and that shows up prominently in his performances. He's not some sort of cyborg who strikes the ball the same every time and learned to play golf when he was right out of the womb, i.e. Tiger.

His caddy, Ted Scott, called Watson a "freak show" at the Masters, per Harig:

I can't describe it any other way. I've played golf with him probably 40, 50 times and every single day that I play golf with him or watch him play golf I just go, how do you do that? And I asked him on 18, after he hit the tee shot, "Are you from Mars or something? Because I don't believe you can hit these shots that you hit."

Sometimes he'll completely implode. Other times, he's absolutely irresistible.

Take, for instance, his results in his six Masters appearances.

Bubba Watson Masters Results
YearPlaceFinal Score

How many other guys have that kind of volatility from year to year? This is the kind of golfer that Watson is, and it's what endears him to so many fans.

It's the same reason that many are drawn to Mickelson. One moment, Lefty shoots a double bogey on No. 18 to lose the 2006 U.S. Open; the next, he's nailing six birdies in the final round of the 2013 Open Championship.

Eccentricity is only embraced for so long, though, before fans stop taking him seriously. Sooner or later an athlete needs to produce results, or he risks becoming merely a wacky character rather than a bona fide star.

With Sunday's win, Watson proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's the latter rather than the former.