'Bubba is everything I would like to see in a player'
This week marks the start of the rest of Bubba Watson's golfing life. In New Orleans he is both the defending champion and teeing off in competition for the first time as a major winner.
Along with the inevitable riches that have accompanied his recent victory at the Masters, the major title holder tag also brings prestige, respect and scrutiny.
Watson has already tasted heightened attention by completing an exhaustive post-Augusta tour of the US chat show circuit. He wowed the audiences with homely explanations of "Bubba Golf" and its inherent hallmarks of fun and creativity.
It is time now for his unique game to come under the public gaze like never before and the fascinating thing about Watson is he will shoulder that burden all on his own.
Bubba Watson's unorthodox style could inspire a generation of golfers. Photo: Getty
This is not a case of swapping time with Letterman for Leadbetter for the unorthodox left-hander from Florida.
Indeed, Watson looked more comfortable in the television environs than he ever would on a range taking tutelage from the likes of top coaches David Leadbetter, Butch Harmon or Sean Foley.
Famously Watson claims never to have had a golf lesson in his life, yet now he is a major champion.
How is this possible? All we are ever told is that we must, at the very least, be taught the fundamentals of the game to have any hope of any level of competence.
One leading coach is not at all surprised by Watson's success and the way it has been achieved. "Bubba is king," smiles Kendal McWade, the free-thinking Scot who is England Golf's head man in the North.
"He is living proof that human beings are capable of astonishing levels of learning and problem solving without coaching," McWade told BBC Sport.
"All Bubba has done is apply that innate ability to the game of golf."
McWade believes the fundamentals of golf are not to be found in the conventional wisdom of orthodox grip, alignment and stance. Rather it comes down to the simple physics of what the club head can do to the ball at impact.
"Watson has taken the game back to its very essence and the basic rules of how you apply the golf club. He has explored this and looked at the outcomes. If he swings it one way the ball will go that way, if he swings it another it will fly in a different way," McWade explained.
Through a life of golfing self discovery Watson has found he is able to move the ball sideways and on different trajectories at will.
It was this strength that ultimately won him his green jacket with his outrageous hook from the trees at the second play-off hole against Louis Oosthuizen.
You would struggle to find that shot in any coaching manual; it was achieved through learning by experiment on the range. "I bet he moves the ball even more dramatically in practice when he wants to," McWade said.
"He is so in tune with the club and that's the essence of the game of golf. To the absolute limit he has explored every club in the bag.
"There is an incredible freedom created by not trying to do it right by the text book. And there's definitely a freedom in moving the ball a long way.
"It takes the pressure off massively compared with the accepted desire to hit soft fades, soft draws or even the holy grail of the dead straight shot."
Long before Watson was modeling a green jacket McWade was challenging England's top juniors in the North to take on "the Bubba shot" in their practice sessions. The idea is to prompt these talented youngsters to explore the limits of a golf club's capabilities.
"Bubba is everything I would like to see in a player. He is independent, not coach dependent. After a bad game Lionel Messi wouldn't go and seek a kicking coach to sort him out, he works it out for himself," said McWade.
"Most golfers seek out a coach to tell them where they are going wrong. Bubba is proving the guy with the answers is himself."
Watson's approach is certainly thought provoking, especially when we saw a player of Tiger Woods's immense golfing ability apparently so bogged down in technical issues struggling so badly in the Masters.
Interestingly, Woods's former coach Harmon has suggested a course of action not far removed from the Watson/McWade philosophy. "I'd tell him to go out on the range without anybody," Harmon said.
"Start hitting some golf shots. Hit some high draws, some low draws, high fades, low fades, move the ball up and down, move it around; don't worry about how you do it and go back to feeling it again.
"Quit playing golf-swing and just hit shots," Harmon went on. "He's Tiger Woods for God's sake. He doesn't know how to hit a shot?"
It is a fair point and Watson provides ample evidence to validate this line of thinking.
As he embarks on the start of the rest of his career, we are left to wonder what will be the impact of "Bubba Golf" on the way the rest of us approach the game.