Birdies with Bubba

The Masters champ re-energizes golf

Jens Honoré

Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson has three fears in life: darkness, heights and crowds. The first two won't hurt you in golf. But the third seems pretty problematic because Watson, 33, is now the Masters champ and golf's reigning stuntman, and his galleries will only grow.

Gerry Lester Watson Jr.--his dad nicknamed him Bubba for his chubby baby face--traces his ochlophobia to his father, a Green Beret who experienced hand-to-hand combat in Vietnam. Gerry Sr.'s eyes were always darting, surveilling those around him, as if he were still in the jungle. "I just built that fear," says Watson, standing off a practice green at...

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