After last year, everyone thought Gerry "Bubba" Watson gave Americans a true hope for American golf. His near miss at the PGA Championship gave so many hope, alongside strong play from last year.
However, after a hot first few weeks, Watson's season fizzled to a disappointing end. His stats were the same, but the buzz of his season wasn't. He wasn't a late-season event contender. He was just like Mark Wilson: strong out of the gate but tumbling halfway.
Is there a reason for the debacle? Of course there is.
The long-driving Watson is human, and that means he falls victim to a very common issue with long hitters: he doesn't hit many fairways. Watson ranks 152 in driving accuracy on tour.
Only 125 players make the cut for next year, meaning there are guys who don't have their full tour card who can hit the fairway more often than Watson can.
It's hard enough to play a round of when you hit fairways. With the way Bubba hits, it's even harder.
Bubba may not hit many fairways, but he hits a lot of greens. Ranked No. 9 on tour in greens in regulation, that means Watson should have plenty of birdie putts.
The problem? He can't make them. It's a combination of horrible putting in general and proximity to the hole.
If you want to contend, it's better to make one more putt per round than hit one more drive over 310.
Right now, Watson loses .108 strokes in his putting. However, they calculate that doesn't matter. Watson is 120 on tour in that stat. The flattest stick in the bag is most important, and Watson doesn't have it now.
It happened in Dustin Johnson too. Coming so close in a major puts a lot more pressure on you to be a constant force in the game.
It may just have been a year of struggle for Watson trying to be in the mix every week, or it could be the fact that it's tough to replicate good years of golf year after year.
We got a little spoiled with Tiger Woods always having a good year and his bad years still yielding multiple wins. Remember, the average tour pro doesn't do what Tiger did. And Bubba was never great until last year, so growing pains need to be tolerated.
Before he and Dustin Johnson earned the pity of the golf world last year, Bubba Watson had a pretty bad mean streak. By that, I mean he was a very negatively-minded player. Watson got frustrated fast, and that was why he was never as good as last year.
This year, Watson was very frustrated with his game after starting off so hot, and he definitely got into hot water for his comments at the European Tour.
Watson got a little too emotional this year. He needs to come back down and just focus on having fun, and the golf should mostly take care of itself.
He hits a lot of greens, I will give him that. But it's tough for a player going through struggles with his consistency off the tee.
What helps? Having some kind of way to video your swing and see what's going wrong.
Take a look at Watson's swing. I don't think I could ever figure out what's right.
He's made it work, but it does present some challenges to being an elite player.
I have said this plenty of times in varying ways: Bubba Watson is an overrated player.
Last year, in my opinion, was a fluke. After a quick start, he ended up right where he really is—and that's in the middle of the pack.
Watson lacks consistency, short game and all the keys to be a steady force on tour. Everyone wanted him to win because they thought he was a nice guy. Reality was that nobody knew what a jerk he was before he played good golf.
Watson was miserable and no fun to watch.
This year wasn't much of an improvement. His attitude maybe, but his golf not at all.
Ultimately, Bubba Watson didn't have a good year in the eyes of the public because they set expectations he could never reach.