U.S. Open: Bubba Watson’s Loopy Swing and Olympic Club Not a Great Match

Bubba Watson's wild club movement and pink driver shaft are unlike any on the Tour

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Illustrations by Todd-Detwiler for TIME

When the U.S. Open begins Thursday, this year’s Masters champ, Bubba Watson, will be paired with fellow Green Jacket holders Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. That may be where the similarities end.

Not only is Watson’s boyish personality and off-the-course demeanor the complete opposite of Tiger’s and Phil’s, so’s his swing. Whereas Woods and Mickelson both spent years working with coaches to fine-tune their club movement, Watson’s is purely homegrown. He didn’t learn the game through a swing guru or from how-to books. He learned how to swing a golf club through feel and imagination, or in his words, “I see it. I feel it. I hit it.”

Watson’s loopy swing will likely face its stiffest challenge ever on Thursday. Not only will he be in the featured group alongside Tiger and Phil, but the site of this year’s U.S. Open, Olympic Club, has a number of tight fairways that could cause serious problems for Watson’s wayward tee shots. “Hopefully I don’t hit too many people,” Watson said Tuesday.

MORE: Birdies with Bubba — The Masters Champ Re-Energizes Golf


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