Can “Bubba” come out of Asia?
Congrats to Bubba Watson on his 2014 Northern Trust Open Victory! After 22 months of waiting, the win last week must have felt really sweet. The reason I am writing about Bubba today is because, not only is he a great athlete and one of the world’s best golfers, but he is also all naturale. Bubba represents raw talent. Growing up, he couldn’t afford to practice because range balls were expensive, so he just played. This is something that most Asian golfers are slowly accepting, the balance between practicing versus playing.
Today, Bubba stands tall, among the most elite golfers. The system Bubba grew up in, allowed him to create his own golf swing, his own golf mentality and ultimately his own competitive spirit. Can the Asian system and culture produce a Bubba? As a society, Asians have harped on having the “perfect” everything. If it isn’t perfect, it isn’t good. Bubba’s golf swing is far from perfect, his golf game is far from structured, but his focus is streamlined and his competitiveness is infectious.
The need to be the most perfect athlete has hindered many athletic success stories from Asia. Does Asian society beat down upon those who create their own path? Is there only one successful path and those who don’t follow it, fall behind?
Somebody asked me yesterday, whether any rising Asian athlete could make it to the top of world sports without ever being mechanically trained? The answer is probably, no. As a society we have got caught up in the hype. Maybe its because our sports culture has only risen in the last 15 years, when sports has created a certain sentiment of having the perfect technique to be the best player. We need a Bubba from Asia, we need that competitive spirit, and most of all, we need the ability to just go out there and play.