2011 British Open: Bubba Watson Can Silence the Critics with a High Finish

John BurkeContributor IJuly 12, 2011

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 11:  Bubba Watson of USA signs autographs for the fans during the first practice round during The Open Championship, at Royal St. George's on July 11, 2011 in Sandwich, England. The 140th Open begins on July 14, 2011.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Bubba Watson screwed up. You can admit, I can admit. Heck, even Bubba himself will admit it. 

During the French Open two weeks ago, Bubba managed to insult most of the European Tour, its fans and its players. He received more than a fair share of backlash for that incident. 

Most of the backlash was probably unwarranted. 

Bubba isn't a bad guy, he wasn't trying to be mean or rude. Instead, Bubba was being Bubba, a "goofy guy from Baghdad, Florida."

Was his choice of words poor?

Without a doubt. 

Could he have gone without saying much of what he said?

Again, without a doubt.

But if he did, we would be losing part of who Bubba is and what makes him a favorite.

He interacts with the media. He doesn't give politically correct answers, he tells you what he actually thinks. That isn't being mean, that is being honest.

Bubba felt uncomfortable in the French Open and he conveyed that to the press. Albeit not in the greatest of ways, but he was trying to be humorous. 

In the process, he alienated a lot of golf fans.

So now, Bubba is heading back across the pond for the 2011 British Open.

His fan base there will probably be smaller, and he may be heckled a few times for what he said.

But you and I both know that the best way to silence the critics is to perform well. Bubba has never performed well in the British Open, with his best finish being 78th.

This year, however, he has a little motivation. Bubba wants to stick around and play well to show the people that his quotes from a couple of weeks ago do not represent who he is as a person.

In the process, he will win back some fans and show that he can play golf overseas.

He also may be able to show that he truly wasn't trying to offend people in France. He was being himself.

And if there is anything golf needs, it is more players like Bubba. Players who aren't afraid to speak their minds.