Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson is sold on Women’s Amateur
For the success of the new Augusta National Women’s Amateur to continue, it certainly won’t hurt to have some cache behind it from what is appearing to be one of its biggest supporters.
On Sunday, 2012 and 2014 Masters champion Bubba Watson gave the first women’s amateur glowing reviews and support. The Augusta National Women’s Amateur ended Saturday with Jennifer Kupcho winning by four shots over Maria Fassi.
Watson, who got into town on Friday to see the practice round and subsequently the final day at Augusta National, is more than happy to volunteer his time to be at the event.
“Every year I’m here for the Drive, Chip and Putt and now every year I’m going to get here no later than Friday so I can watch the women play and support them the best way I know how,” he said Sunday shortly before handing out the first place trophy in the 10-11 year-old girls Drive, Chip and Putt to Sophia Li.
“For me it’s a no-brainer, having a green jacket on, I feel like I’m part of the club,” he added “No matter how I play the rest of my life, I’m still part of the club. And I think any initiative they institute at Augusta National, I should be a part of.”
For golfing legends Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez, those kind of words coming from a Masters champion like Watson will be an inspiration for younger women and girls to pick up clubs.
“It was fantastic to have the support of a champion and one of the best on the PGA Tour,” said Sorenstam, who, along with Lopez, Lorena Ochoa and Se Ri Pak made up the First Tee Ceremony on Saturday.
It was another great moment of Augusta National’s long history and now women have their time to shine at the legendary course.
“What happened yesterday is just something that you never thought you’d see,” Lopez said of women having their own event. “It was exciting, thrilling.”
She even added all the emotions played on her mind too.
“It was nerve-wracking for me to try and hit my first shot off the tee,” she laughed. “It’s a feeling I’ll never have again – that first time you walk up the hill and come up to that tee box.”
But moments like that are exactly the target Augusta National wants to hit. All three – Watson, Sorenstam and Lopez – admit the tournament will certainly hit a chord with young girls and give them the drive to play.
“You know we talk about how do we inspire people to play the game of golf, and half the population are women,” Watson said. “So anything to inspire them and this is not just about playing professional golf, this is about getting an education in college, the charities that golf puts on,you talking about golf being in their life. So why not love it and be a part of playing Augusta National?”
“Avenues like this are going to grow sports in general grow the game of golf,” he added.
Watson didn’t stop short of the possibility of an LPGA Tournament in Augusta’s future.
“They keep impressing me and I’ve been here for many years,” Watson said. “Although they are not letting me in the meetings to find out what they are going to do next.”
Lopez, who had 52 wins on the LPGA Tour and is a member of the Golf Hall of Fame, advised that Augusta National should take its time first before any thoughts of an LPGA tournament.
“I think Augusta National wants to grow amateur golf or grow golf in general, and the way you do that is with amateur golf,” she said.
But she paused a moment and smiled, perhaps about the thought of a women’s professional tournament at Augusta.
“I would love to see an LPGA tournament here, although I’m not on the tour anymore.”
“I want to play.”