Monday notebook: Watson’s joker in the deck
By Josh Ball, PGA.com Contributor
SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda -- The PGA of America goes to a lot of trouble to make sure the faces of the Grand Slam players adorn every nook and cranny of Port Royal Golf Course. Four of the largest posters are life-size "Fatheads," showing each one holding his major trophy and smiling, that adorn the middle of the clubhouse next to the bar.
Bubba Watson obviously decided that they were missing a little something, because he took a Sharpie to each one. He gave Padraig Harrington a full beard; Keegan Bradley a pair of sunglasses, a nose ring and a small mustache; and Webb Simpson a uni-brow and a speech bubble with the words, "Bubba Golf is awesome."
Bradley made sure his Ryder Cup teammate wasn't left out, with a speech bubble containing the words, "long-putters are awesome."
"At University of Georgia, we learned to draw inside the lines," said Watson. "I think it is St. John's where Keegan went -- they need to work on their art program, because he has to scrub and paint that wall again since his is not coming off."
BUBBA PUTS SHARPIE TO BETTER USE THIS TIME: Scott Gemmell, a native of Hamilton, Scotland, who has lived in Bermuda for the past five years, is a huge Bubba Watson fan. This past July, his friend Toni Edang, a native of the Philippines, purchased one of Watson’s signature pink Ping drivers online and gave it to Gemmell as a birthday present.
On Monday at Port Royal, Gemmell, who is in the insurance business, got a big thrill when Watson signed the head of the driver before teeing off in the 2012 PGA Grand Slam of Golf Pro-Am.
"I’ve been using it since she gave it to me,” Gemmell said with a smile. “But I don’t think I’ll play with it anymore."
HE MIGHT BE THE MASTER, BUT HE’S NO TEACHER: If you wanted any evidence that not all great players make great coaches, then you need look no further than Bubba Watson's honest assessment of his own abilities.
The 2012 Masters winner is in Bermuda this week for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf , and spent part of the morning Monday giving a quick master class in hitting a draw off the tee for the benefit of the Golf Channel's 'Golf Fix' program with PGA Professional Michael Breed.
Breed did his best to get Watson talking to him about wrists and clubfaces and swinging inside to out, and for a while Bubba played along. He even melted his first drive down the 17th fairway with a perfect draw, after telling the crowd to "pretend it works, even if it doesn't."
Smiling and joking with Breed, Watson did his best to explain his unique approach to the game, but eventually gave up.
"Truthfully, I'm making this all up," Watson admitted. "I just aim it and do it."
FAMILY TIES: Webb Simpson seemed destined to play in Bermuda one day.
The U.S. Open champion has links to an island that he calls truly special.
"I've never played a course with views like this place," said Simpson. "Pebble [Beach] was love at first sight, but this place is truly special. It's a fun week, it's a celebratory week, and I can't think of a better place to spend it than right here.
"My parents had their honeymoon here, and when I married my wife I figured out shortly after that her parents had their honeymoon here. I was bound for this place."
NOT CONVINCED: Simpson is one of many players who now use a long putter, and his U.S. Open triumph earlier this year again put the spotlight on the argument over their use.
With USGA officials giving their strongest indication yet that they are planning on banning the clubs, Simpson said he wasn't worried if they do. But, he noted, he still doesn't believe it would be the right decision.
The major winner has already started practicing at home with a regular-sized putter so he can be ready should he be required to make the change.
"I'm not worried about it. I'm ready and if they do it for next year, I'll be ready," he said. "There's a bunch of arguments going around, but I haven't heard a good one yet."
GLAD TO BE BACK: Back as defending PGA Grand Slam champion, Keegan Bradley said he jumped at the chance to return to Bermuda.
The 2011 PGA Champion was drafted in when Rory McIlroy pulled out, and said the chance to return to Bermuda and play alongside Bubba Watson was too good an opportunity to miss.
"It's great to be back in Bermuda. Weather is perfect and course is even better than I remember it," said Bradley. "I'm looking forward to playing with him [Bubba] the next couple days.
"Any time you get to come here and play this tournament is a bonus, and the PGA puts on a great tournament," he added. "And the people of Bermuda really make you feel very nice when you come here. So any time I get a chance to come, I'm going to jump on it."