Why Bubba Watson says golf needs to stop getting ‘mad’ at long hitters

bubba watson waves

While some have called for ways to limit the effectiveness of the long ball in golf, Bubba Watson wants to see long drives celebrated more.

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Golf is always evolving. The game that was invented in Scotland hundreds of years ago only generally resembles the modern game. As in other sports, players have gotten bigger, stronger and smarter in the modern era.

That progression isn’t always celebrated. Traditionalists argue modern technologies have rendered classic courses obsolete and many are clamoring for something — anything! — to be done to save the soul of the sport.

Bubba Watson is far from a golf traditionalist, and, to him, this line of conservative thinking just doesn’t make sense. Why is it that golf always tries to squash anything that threatens its traditions?

“The sad part for me is we celebrate every sport in the world,” Watson said. “We celebrate accomplishments. We celebrate a guy scoring 50 points in the NBA. They are not saying, ‘Quit shooting three-pointers.’ But we don’t celebrate when a guy makes eight birdies, or a guy bombs it 400 yards. I don’t understand how we’re not celebrating. We’re trying to make golf courses bigger, harder, dumber, however you want to word it, but we’re not celebrating our great players.”

Watson sees no issue with where the game is headed. If someone has the ability to smash the ball miles down the fairway, then so be it.

It’s on brand for the two-time major winner to be in favor of the long ball. His homegrown swing has produced some of the most exciting shots in golf over the last decade.

“I want to see these guys hammering the ball,” Watson continued. “I want a 6-foot-8 guy not playing in the NBA, I want to see him on the PGA Tour bombing the ball. We’re the only sport not celebrating accomplishments of being a guy working out in the gym that can hit the ball miles. We’re mad at that guy. I don’t know why, but we are.”

Although he didn’t call him out by name, Watson was likely alluding to Bryson DeChambeau and his extreme bomb-and-gauge approach that helped him win the 2020 U.S. Open. DeChambeau has taken lots of heat for the way he’s attempted to conquer the game through brute force, and that’s a head-scratcher for Watson.

“The NBA, Tom Brady winning, throwing touchdowns, we celebrate that,” he continued. “ESPN talks about it nonstop. They don’t ever talk about us chopping out of the — hey, he laid up again. That’s great.”

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and is the staff’s self-appointed development tour “expert.”