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Professional golfer Bubba Watson is a leading player on the PGA Tour and winner of the 2012 Masters Tournament.
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Born Gerry Lester Watson Jr. in 1978, Bubba started playing golf as a child. The self-taught sports star played for Faulkner State Community College and University of Georgia before joining the Nationwide Tour in 2001. In 2006, Watson joined the PGA Tour. He scored his first victory in 2010 at the Travelers Championship. In 2012, Watson took home the top prize at the Masters Tournament.
One of golf's rising stars, Bubba Watson grew up in Bagdad, Florida. His interest in the sport developed at an early age and became it an all-consuming passion. His father Gerry took him to a golf course for the first time when he was six. The young golf savant spent years hitting wiffle balls in his yard, practicing daily. "Instead of playing with trucks out in the yard, I'd play with a ball and a club," explained Watson.
Without any formal lessons, the Milton High School graduate made an impressive showing as an amateur. He was named first-team junior college All-American while playing for Faulkner State Community College. Moving on to the University of Georgia, he helped their team clinched the 2000 Southeastern Conference title.
Watson started his professional career on the Nationwide Tour in 2001. For the first few years, he failed to make much of a showing. But in 2004, Watson seemed to be gaining momentum with two second-place finishes that season. He did even better in 2005, playing in 24 events and making five Top 10 and nine Top 25 appearances.
In 2006, the left-handed Watson moved up the PGA Tour. He had a third-place finish at the Chrysler Classic of Tucson that February and took home more than $1 million in PGA winnings for the season. Still a tournament title eluded him until 2010. That June, Watson won the Travelers Championship. He dedicated this victory to his father who was battling cancer. He also was selected to play in the prestigious Ryder Cup that October. But along with all of this good news came a terrible loss. Watson's father passed away in October as well. "My dad got to see me win & play for USA in the Ryder Cup," Watson tweeted. The devoutly Christian golfer added, "God gave my family my best year & worst year!"
In 2011, Watson won two more championships on the tour. He won the Farmers Insurance Open in January and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans that May. And his winning ways have continued in the 2012 season. He had a remarkable victory at the Masters Tournament in April, beating out South African player Louis Oosthuizen in a sudden-death playoff. Watson made a remarkable shot from the woods to win the title and honor of the wearing the event's distinctive green jacket. He received congratulations from the likes of fellow golfer Tiger Woods and football player Tim Tebow, among others.
Watson was overcome by emotion at this important win, which marks his foray into the top tier of the golf world. "I've never had a dream go this far, so I can't say it's a dream come true," he said about his victory. Watson's ambitions for the future remain simple and straightforward.
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