#VivaLaBubba (Watson) – Talk Of The Town At Waste Management Phoenix Open
If you were one of the record 179,000+ people who attended the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament this past Saturday at TPC Scottsdale, in Arizona and you didn’t see, hear or come across the phrase #VivaLaBubba, there’s either one of two things going on here. One: You’re most likely described by your closest friends as “oblivious.” Or two: You need to consult your local physician for your issue with sleepwalking. Point being; Bubba Watson was everywhere! In human form, the 2012 Masters Tournament Champion could be found playing 18 holes with the greatest Olympian of all time, Team USA’s swimming star, Michael Phelps, in Wednesday’s Annexus ProAm. Or riling up the crowd at the iconic 16th hole during the PGA Tour tournament itself, asking for noise while most crave silence. In other forms, Bubba Watson and Oakley’s now catchy hashtag, #VivaLaBubba could be seen flying the Scottsdale skies in the form of a giant 40 foot by 80 foot banner trailing behind an airplane with the image of the Florida native’s face along side the catchy new term. From the event’s expo to Oakley’s Greenskeeper set up to the Oakley Skybox at the 16th hole and even a #VivaLaBubba street team following Watson on the course: it was #VivaLaBubba and Bubba Watson mania in the desert this weekend.
Wednesday marked the beginning of the Annexus Pro-Am to be played at TPC Scottsdale, kicking off a great week of golf in the Arizona desert. Oakley’s Bubba Watson was paired with Olympic great, Michael Phelps along with the tournament’s corporate host, Waste Management’s President and CEO, David Steiner. There’s no doubt about it; Michael Phelps is the boss when it comes to the pool. But on grass, it was all Bubba Watson. Phelps has publicly set his eyes on improving his golf game and the 22 time Olympic medalist got an early lesson from Watson himself. Additionally, Phelps got to experience what Watson and the rest of the PGA Tour players get to experience on 16 at TPC Scottsdale. To further demonstrate how brutal an experience it can be, the stadium that holds up to 20,000 rowdy fans surrounding the par 3 chip shot loudly booed the greatest Olympian of all time and hometown US hero, for not placing his golf ball on the green.
“Not a shot,” Phelps said of his mindset on the 16th tee box. “Literally as soon as we walked out on the 16th, I could feel my heartbeat firing through my shirt. I thought my heart was going to pop out of my chest. My club was like shaking as I’m over the ball. I had to pretty much try to swing the club as fast as I could.”
Both athletes had a great time during Wednesday’s pro-am and had some comical things to say about the “competition.”
“Being able to play with Bubba is something else,” Phelps said. “He was pretty much just giving me a hard time from Hole 1.”
“A great champion like Michael Phelps is an honor to play with, an honor to be friends with. To watch a great athlete like that try and play another sport, it’s a fun thing. We didn’t talk much about swimming. I just wanted to make fun of his golf game.”
When asked what the best part of Phelps’ game ,Watson’s witty charm came through with a quick response: “That he’s done with 18 holes.”
All-in-all, the Watson/Phelps pairing was the most popular on the day and the most exciting to watch out at TPC Scottsdale.
Waste Management Phoenix Open
Coming into the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Watson was admittedly not at 100%. Down close to 10 pounds from bouts with the flu and strep throat that kept him out of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines a week prior, Watson did his best to rally his focus at the “Greenest Show On Grass.”
In a tournament that saw Phil Michelson post an astonishing 28 under par on the weekend, Watson still finished with an impressive -15 score, putting him in 15th place overall.
It was Bubba’s crowd-pleasing tactics that took center stage however when he entered the esteemed 16th hole on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Known as a bit of a party hole, caddies can be seen racing each other from the tee box to the green, golfers do strange dances and quirky displays to rouse the crowd, sometimes even tossing promotional items into the stands. In true Bubba Watson fashion, he wanted to make a splash. T-Shirts? Hats? Foam fingers? No. Watson tossed multiple pairs of Oakley snow goggles to his adoring fans, inciting a mass craze for the unique giveaways. Snow goggles in the desert? Why not? Bubba Watson strikes again.
In additional golf news, fellow Oakley golfer Brendan Steele also had a spectacular weekend, shooting an 18 under par to end the weekend in Arizona tied for 6th place over all.
Oakley Skull Cup
Waste Management Phoenix Open week also marks the finale of a series of Oakley sponsored Pro-Am golf tournaments. The winners of these tournaments are invited to play in an international competition, held in Scottsdale to determine an overarching winner of the Oakley Skull Cup.
In a tournament pitting Team USA versus an international field, the Americans came away with the victory in the inaugural international version of the Oakley Skull Cup. The event held at the Gainey Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale featured golfers from as far away as Ireland, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Korea and Japan. A great time was had by all and Oakley would like to congratulate Team USA and all the participants of this year’s Oakley Skull Cup.
It was another amazing weekend of golf in the Arizona desert. If anyone was still wondering about the pairing of Oakley and Bubba Watson, the weekend in Scottsdale should have cleared that right up. Oakley would like to praise the play of it’s PGA Tour golfers, its Oakley Skull Cup participants and all that took part in the #VivaLaBubba fun over the past week and beyond surrounding the Waste Management Phoenix Open.