Cut Line: Inside Bubba's mind


If the vision of Bubba Watson’s “General Lee” tearing down Magnolia Lane isn’t exactly what Augusta National officials have in mind for their champion, just imagine the menu for next year’s Champion’s Dinner – pizza and chicken fingers anyone?

Still, the newly minted Masters champion has certainly created plenty of buzz from his media blitz this week, while the buzz at Harbour Town is about a curious break from tradition at the Heritage.

Made Cut

Bubba golf. Your Masters champion predicted that by Monday morning the media masses would have moved on to the next big thing, but it turns out the boy from Bagdad, Fla., has more than the 15-minute status quo.

From David Letterman’s “Top 10 List” to a surprise cameo on Tuesday’s “Morning Drive,” Watson’s game off the golf course has proven to be almost as entertaining as his swashbuckling on-course shtick.

In honor of Watson’s talk show tour, we had Cut Line headquarters in Sioux City, Iowa, come with our own list: The Top 10 things going through Bubba Watson’s mind during the second playoff hole at last week’s Masters:

No. 10 – Why do they call Louis Oosthuizen Shrek?

No. 9 – Would my driver be considered azalea pink?

No. 8 – Sure wish they allowed cell phones on the course. I’d love to tweet something right now.

No. 7 – How do you change a diaper?

No. 6 – Thank goodness I didn’t hit my drive down the middle of the fairway. A straight shot would kill me right now.

No. 5 – Which cabins did Rory McIlroy hit his tee shot between last year?

No.  4 – Louis . . . that’s a funny name.

No. 3 – For fun I should try to hit this shot right-handed.

No. 2 – What is pimento cheese and why would you put it on a sandwich?

And the No. 1 thing going through Watson’s mind on Sunday – Has a “Bubba” ever won a major?

Choot, ’em Kip, Choot ’em. Caddie Kip Henley went well beyond his normal charter on Thursday at the Heritage when his man Brian Gay’s golf ball ended up in a plugged lie next to a 6-foot alligator on Harbour Town’s 15th hole.

Henley shooed the animal away with a rake, but it took some prodding. “The gator had (one) front leg,” Henley later tweeted. “I guess that’s why he was so reluctant to take off.”

Gay was forced to play his fourth shot from a plugged lie and made a bogey-6 on the hole on his way to an opening 75, but the incident did put the spotlight on one of the game’s most underrated tweeters.

“I told the boss (Kim Gay, Brian’s wife) I get hazard pay for that and she didn’t share my views,” Henley tweeted.

Tweet of the week: @KipHenley “I would take a bullet for my man until he can’t win the (tournament). After he can’t win he don’t need to (pick) no fights.”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Joe Steranka. By almost every account the outgoing chief of the PGA of America is leaving the organization better than it was when he took over as CEO six years ago, and, at 53, Steranka has certainly earned his Golden Years tee time, but there is one hole on the resume that can’t be ignored.

On Wednesday Steranka told Cut Line that growing the game was the PGA chief’s “job (No.) 1,” yet golf continues to endure steady declines in participation despite numerous initiatives to spark interest.

On this Steranka shares the blame evenly with leaders from the PGA Tour, U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, but the PGA of America, and its 27,000 members, are golf’s front line. If the game is going to turn the tide it’s up to Steranka’s replacement to take the lead and come up with a program that produces results to go with all those good intentions.

Lee Westwood. Phil Kenyon is example No. 684 that coaches of all varieties get too much credit when their man performs well and far too much blame when he tanks.

Early last week at Augusta National Westwood was asked about his work with Kenyon, who he teamed with last September.

“I feel a lot more comfortable. He’s given me a few ideas about what makes a good putt a good putt, basically, and what I have to do in my stroke to putt well,” Westwood said.

One hundred twenty-eight putts and another missed opportunity at the Masters later Kenyon was bounced from “Team Westy” and word is the Englishman is looking for a new putting guru.

All interested parties can apply but be forewarned, it’s best to consider the gig a temp job.

Missed Cut

No safe Harbour (Town). Cut Line celebrates the Heritage’s return to its traditional post-Masters date and its unofficial status as a “Cocktail party unlike any other,” to follow the tradition unlike any other, but tinkering to the Lowcountry layout seems curious, if not criminal.

Officials added about 20 yards to the iconic closing hole, 36 yards to the par-4 16th and 32 yards to the par-4 third, prompting one caddie to ask, “Why are they messing with this place?”

According to the official scorecard officials added 128 yards to a golf course that ranked No. 2 on Tour in a player poll last year.

Why, indeed?

World Golf Ranking. According to the number crunchers Rory McIlroy needs only to remain upright this week and he has a good chance of overtaking Luke Donald atop the world golf ranking.

In the kind of mathematical miscue that makes college football’s BCS so polarizing, if Donald doesn’t finish inside the top 8 this week at Harbour Town McIlroy will vault by him because, according to the Golf Channel math club, the Ulsterman’s divisor is dropping from 50 events to 49.

There is no perfect system, a truth compounded by the fact there is no truly dominant player right now, but when a guy can take over the top spot from his couch it may be time for some more tinkering.