Keeping Score

How Bubba Watson Energizes Golf

TIME profiles the Masters champ

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REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Bubba Watson tees off on the 12th hole during the first round of the 2012 U.S. Open golf tournament on the Lake Course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California on June 14, 2012.

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.

(MORE: U.S. Open – Bubba Watson’s Loopy Swing and Olympic Club Not A Great Match)