CROMWELL -- Bubba Watson pondered the "who Is Bubba" query for few moments. "I'm just a country boy from a small town who loves to play golf and loves just to have fun. That's it." But Watson is exceedingly modest. There's much more depth in this lefthander from Bagdad, Fla.
He sponsors two junior golf tournaments, donates money to two churches, has about 140,000 followers on Twitter, loves to Jet Ski and make funny videos. He is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year and ranks No. 2 on the FedEx Cup point standings. And that's not all. His driver has a unique pink shaft, making him the only player on the tour to choose that color. He doesn't have a swing coach or a sports psychologist, a rarity on tour.
He's emotional. Remember his first tour victory in the Travelers Championship and his tearful embrace with his wife, Angie, on the 16th green at TPC River Highlands? He was spent after defeating Scott Verplank on the second extra hole in the playoff that included Corey Pavin.
Watson is a strong supporter of Birdies for The Brave and the Green Berets Foundation, two military outreach programs. He is one of the longest hitters on tour and
"My dad [Gerry] told me when I was young you can be a follower or a leader," Watson said at the Travelers media day last month. "He said there's no fun in being a follower."
Watson has risen in the world rankings to No. 12, is challenging Phil Mickelson as the game's top lefthander, is sending funny tweets, videos and interviews and is endorsing "Bubba Golf."
Bubba Golf is about having fun, shaping shots like no one else on tour, and hitting it "Bubba Long" with his wide-arc swing from his 6-foot-3 body.
He generates tremendous speed through the hitting zone by taking his driver past his head and beyond parallel on his back swing.
Last year he hit a 396-yard drive on the final hole of regulation at the Travelers Championship. The longest drive in tournament history was helped by a bounce off the cart path in the fairway. Still, that path was 340 yards out.
So was that the best shot he ever hit? Or was it that 40-inch putt that gave him his first PGA Tour victory in the playoff?
"All I remember was the putter went back straight," he said. "As soon as it went in, the media, my wife, everyone is there. I don't remember getting the ball out of the hole. I don't know who has it."
Neither shot is No.1, though.
He says his best shot came on the par-5 16th hole in the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.
"I had 206 yards and about a 6-foot space to fly the ball from under the trees and over water in front of the green," he said. "We had no chip out from the trees. I told my caddie [Ted Scott], 'I'm going to hit my shot.' And he said, 'I knew you would.'
"I put the ball the farthest back in my stance as I could. Hit a 6-iron on the green and two-putted for birdie."
Watson, 32, leaned back in his chair and smiled. "That was fun."
He's enjoying this season, too. He defeated Mickelson for the Farmers Insurance Open title and Webb Simpson in a playoff for the Zurich Classic championship.
Watson, whose real name is Gerry but pronounced like Gary, headed into the weekend ranked first in greens in regulation (73.83), second in driving distance (310.8 yards) and third in earnings ($2,971,730).
This week he'll play in a tournament for the first time as a defending champion. It's difficult to erase the smile
But Bubba hasn't always been this relaxed and outgoing.
In his early years on the Nationwide and the PGA tours, he struggled with his behavior.
"I was real immature," he said. "I walked around believing I should win. And when I didn't, I got angry, didn't treat the fans and the game with enough respect."
His inner circle -- his father, Angie, Scott -- and his faith contributed to an attitude change.
"I know what my father [a lieutenant in the Green Berets Special Forces during Vietnam] did and how he conducted himself when he had lung cancer," Watson said. "I realized hitting a white golf ball is not the most important thing in life."
Gerry died in October after a long fight with lung cancer. Watson dedicated his Travelers Championship win to his dad.
While Watson says his father is his hero in life, he said his golf hero is Payne Stewart. Stewart followed a similar road and had a strong attitude change.
"He was no longer an angry person inside the ropes, like me," Watson said. "And being a Christian was very important, just like me."
He has donated money to help the Highlands Church in his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the Wesley Church in North High Point, N.C., where he has a summer home.
This week at TPC River Highlands, Watson will mark the first time in his career that he'll play as a defending champion. His friendly demeanor won't change.
"I'm living the same life outside and inside the ropes," Watson said. "It means a lot to me to give back."