Bubba Watson day at Dubsdread typical for golf's most likable player

Waitress jokes aside, which Masters champion — Tiger Woods or Bubba Watson — would most likely show up at Perkins for one of its Griddle Great specials?

Wouldn't we bet all of our house money on Bubba?

Although he has escaped his dungeon of shame to re-emerge as the No. 1 golfer in the world — and hey, he's dating again! — Tiger still prefers to live in his own private prison. Tiger recently refused to talk to Sports Illustrated for a piece heralding his comeback and setting up the Masters. Symbolically, Tiger has his back to the camera in the latest SI cover.

His soundtrack, fittingly, should be one of the most annoying songs in the history of modern music: "U Can't Touch This."

Meanwhile, Bubba is all over the place. There he is tooling around in his futuristic hovercraft golf cart that can skip over water, sand and greens. There he is at an Orlando Magic game, recently nailing an underhanded shot from a spectator's seat on the baseline. There he is on Orlando's most fabled muni, Dubsdread, hitting a few shots and answering phones from folks calling for tee times.

Yep, Bubba has been getting a lot of play on ESPN over the last few days on a clip in which he joins Michael Collins, a former caddie and comedian, at Dubsdread for some blue-collar practice time. Watson is seen getting rejected when he asks to join another group of golfers, hitting some fantastic shots using right-handed rental clubs (he is left-handed), and fielding incredulous calls from people who obviously have no reason to believe that the reigning Masters champion would be answering phones at a local public golf course.

"It's definitely the talk of the town," Jessica Handlan, assistant manager at the course, said Sunday. "A lot of guests feel pretty good that they played the same course as Bubba."

In the spirit of full disclosure, Watson only played the 10th hole and teed off on No. 4. And the video was shot last October. So yes, there's a little bit of a scripted Hollywood plot theme going on, but Bubba is as real as they come.

"I'll be honest with you, I've never used a pull-cart, so I don't know how to put [the clubs] on there," he says at one point.

"Bubba was a standup guy, down to earth," Handlan said.

Would you expect anything less?

What he's got cooking for the Masters' traditional Champions' Dinner Tuesday night is still a secret, but don't be surprised if it's PB&J sandwiches or burgers and fries. Bubba is basic, a good guy (by all accounts). Tiger is secretive and complicated.

Tiger winning the Masters again will be a huge story. Bubba winning the Masters again will simply be a feel-good story we all can wrap our arms around.

There's all sorts of quirky connective tissue between two of the best golfers in the world as they prep for a showdown between the azaleas. The reigning champion can look Tiger in the eye and scream: "This is my house!"

Not only does Watson wear the green jacket that Woods covets again, but he bought Tiger's home in Isleworth. Bubba and his wife Angie closed on the house last summer and moved in recently.

Sure, Isleworth remains a mecca for professional golfers, but one of the biggest selling points for Bubba involved his son, Caleb, adopted last March when he was a month old.

"They got programs for kids, tennis camps, golf camps, family night every Wednesday night for dinner," he told Sports Illustrated recently. "They were all things we wanted to be involved in, and the golf course is really good, too, for me to practice."

A house that once belonged to a disgraced family man. A house that now belongs to a caring family man who has his priorities in order.

Why wouldn't we want to bet all of our house money on Bubba?

Read George Diaz's blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/enfuego or e-mail him at gdiaz@orlandosentinel.com

 

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