In the June 18 issue of TIME magazine, we profile Masters champion Bubba Watson, who is shooting for his second straight major championship at the U.S. Open, which tees off from San Francisco today. The story is available to subscribers here. Watson explains his inventive “Bubba Golf” style: he thrives on hooking and slicing the ball around any tree, bunker, or water hazard. On the second playoff hole at the Masters, Watson somehow forced a ball to fly out of the Augusta, Ga. woods, make a 40-yard right turn, and fall within 10-feet of the cup. “I want to try a shot that nobody can pull of,” Watson says. “Or just amaze people. That’s the thrill.”
Watson reveals a weakness that could hinder his on-course accomplishments: he’s afraid of crowds. “When people are all over you, screaming your name and pushing you and touching you and all that stuff, it just freaks me out,” says Watson. He knows he must work to calm his nerves, since his galleries will only grow.