Bubba Watson’s second Masters win a wake-up call for golf—the Monday Morning Realist


Every Monday morning, Section 215’s Akiem Bailum gives an in-depth and unfiltered look at all of the latest sports news in The Monday Morning Realist. You can follow Akiem on Twitter @AkiemBailum.

Apr 13, 2014; Augusta, GA, USA; Bubba Watson celebrates with the green jacket after winning the 2014 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Realists, I will admit that I didn’t really watch much of the Masters this week. I rarely if ever do considering how little of a golf fan I am. There’s not much of the sport that I can decipher, except that the competitor with the lowest score wins and that if you hit the golf ball into the water, it is most likely not good.

Bubba Watson did not have that problem this weekend at Augusta National as he was successful in winning his second Green Jacket in the last two years. Yes, a 20-year old kid (four years younger than me, by the way—what is this Realist doing?) named Jordan Spieth mesmerized everyone and blew up social media, but in the end, it was Watson who won his second masters with an overall score of -8.

Watson is not one of these transcendent names in golf’s history the way Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tiger Woods were. But, one thing that his win at Augusta does do is enhance his name as one of the world’s best on the green. He already was very popular amongst golf fans, and this win will definitely help in establishing his name as one of the world’s elite on the links.

Wait, Bubba Watson? One of the world’s elite golfers? Mr. Realist, you cannot be sure about that, right?

Completely positive. Winning two at Augusta National is no easy task. One has accomplished something in the sport of golf when they pull off that feat.

This is precisely what golf fans (definitely casual golf fans) have to wake up to—a new reality. One that says that the Rory McIlroys, Bubba Watsons, Jordan Spieths, etc. are the future of the sport, if it is to have a future at all for people under 35 years old. A lot of people want to continue to cling to the “glory days” of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, but even by the standards of a sport known for athletes still continuing to play until they’re 60 and 70 years old (thank you, Senior PGA Tour), Tiger and Phil are on the way out.

No more than a few years ago, much of the hubbub surrounding Tiger Woods was if he would break Jack Nicklaus’ record for the most majors ever won in a career. Nicklaus currently is sitting comfortably with 18 majors while Woods has been stuck at 14 for a few years of his career lately.

The sports media all but gave Woods the record before his cheating scandal became tabloid news, he got into a well-publicized relationship with Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, and injuries continued to take a toll on his game and his ever increasing body.

Father time happens for all of us, and it very well be close to that point for Mr. Woods. Not to brag, but while everyone else on ESPN and Golf Channel were ready to throw a parade in a few years for Woods breaking Nicklaus’ record, this Realist was a little bit more skeptical about that possibility. This coming from someone who admitted that he was pulling for Woods to break the record as well—but thankfully I did not wear red-colored glasses the way seemingly every other sports media pundit was when it came to this issue.

The shame of it all is that when it was announced that Woods couldn’t compete, ESPN and CBS still had to find some way to promote the Masters somehow. Realists, we can only imagine the inner thoughts of ESPN and CBS announcers that were reading Masters promos on air thinking, “Are our bosses still trying to hype this boondoggle at Augusta with Tiger out due to injury and Phil not even making the cut? We should get a raise for this!”

It turned out that ESPN and CBS did not need Woods or Mickelson for a storyline. Bubba Watson emerged to win his second Masters, and the entire world for one weekend in Georgia fell in love with Jordan Spieth.

But, there’s a difference between falling in love and having a love affair. Anyone can fall in and out of love. Affairs last for a good bit of time and sports fans (as well as the media and golf itself) has been involved in a love affair with Woods and Mickelson for a while now.

It is coming to grips with being able to embrace Watson, McIlroy, and Spieth the same way. But, as we all know, Realists, if an old partner is no longer providing a dash of spice to the relationship, it may be time to find someone new.

The press doesn’t want to it admit it, and the sport needs to. The Woods and Mickelson era is coming close to its end if it hasn’t already. It is time for the sport to embrace a new love.