Masters Champion Bubba Watson and Wells Fargo champ J.B. Holmes both learned from their recent victories, and the lessons are not dissimilar.
Watson, who was somewhat overwhelmed by the demands of the public after his 2012 Masters victory, has learned perspective.
“I didn't all like the attention before. Now I think I'm just prepared for it,” he said Tuesday at The Players, his first tournament since his second Masters victory. “This time the green jacket, it means a lot to me personally for my career, for my own satisfaction, but off the course, it really doesn't change me.”
Augusta National and the PGA of America's Drive, Chip and Putt competition impressed him.
“I went out there and saw them on that Sunday, and for me, I wanted to do that to kids in my own little way, how can I try to inspire kids to be better, whether it's in golf or not.”
Watson went back to Bagdad, Florida, for celebrations and to visit the schools he attended growing up. He donated money so the schools could add some extras, like a computer lab. He said he was not the smartest in school growing up, but he knew the teachers were trying their best to educate him.
“I wanted to give back a little,” he said. “ For me it was kind of about thanking everybody in the communities, thanking my teachers that really put their blood, sweat and tears into helping Bubba Watson.”
Watson is keeping the green jacket mostly in the closet this time around, although he did throw out the first pitch at a baseball game.
“I think that might be the first pitch in a green jacket, so that's pretty cool. Got that going for me,” he added. “This time, hopefully, my golf stays the same, gets better, whatever, but it's really who I am as a person, and so I think I know how to handle it a bit better that way.”
J.B. Holmes has had a transformation of another kind, coming back from brain surgery. He still does not have full mobility after 18 months, but he has enough to win, which he did at the Wells Fargo.
“I'm still working on getting all my rotation back with my neck and a lot of rehab,” he explained.
He said the process was difficult, mentally as well as physically.
“Not being able to do what I was used to do,” he said. “It was part of the process and part of the working to get back out here.”
Once he returned to the PGA Tour, he learned to change his attitude.
“I tried to enjoy it more, and so far, I've done a pretty good job of that,” he said.” I mean, just a different outlook on life, just learning to be more grateful.”
Holmes said he had become frustrated with the game in general.
“It was stressful. I wasn't enjoying the game. I even pondered doing something else, “ he admitted. “I wasn't enjoying it even when I was playing well, so I was like, what's the point of being out here and traveling so much and being away from friends and family if you're not going to enjoy it. I got to a point where something had to change.”
His secret was learning to let go of the things he couldn't control.
“You know, golf is a lot like life,” he summed up. “You've got to trust what you're doing, to do the best you can, and sometimes you're going to get some good breaks, and sometimes you're going to get a bad break. It just depends on how you look at it.”
Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.
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