Different Strokes: Bubba's dietary secret to Masters glory

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Bubba Watson reveals that he existed on a diet of burritos during each of his two Masters wins.

1. You’ve got to eat right to feel right

For what it’s worth, we prefer Bubba Watson’s approach — and not just because he’s won the tournament in two of the last three years.

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With the conclusion of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday (well done, again, Matt Every, now try to finish in the top-ten in literally any other PGA Tour event), attention has always started to turn to The Masters, which now looms ominously on the horizon.

There are a couple of tournaments still to be played before the lucky invitees head for Georgia—this week it is the Valero Texas Open, then players stay in state for the Shell Houston Open after that—but, with due deference to them, neither event really gets the heartbeat racing. For many rank-and-file pros those events are one final chance to book a dream ticket to the dance, but for those fortunate enough to have already booked their tickets and rented their prom dresses for the trip down Magnolia Avenue, it is now all about preparing for that week.

Some have different approaches to others. As we said, Bubba Watson’s approach is the early favourite in our books—the left-hander revealing this week that he has existed on a diet of burritos, burritos and more burritos during each of his two Masters wins (in 2012 and 2014).

The American embarked on a host of media appearances this week as part of the build-up to the Masters, revealing his dietary secret in one of them (in another he took a pie to the face from ‘Mad Men’ actress January Jones … perhaps not something he ever thought would happen to him).

“Last year, 2014, my wife was there this time,” Watson said, confusing all sorts of tenses but at least correctly deducing that last year was indeed 2014.

“I was like ‘I’m going back to the burritos.’

“So I had burritos for another 10 days straight, one or two a day. I won again so I think we’re going to do that again.”

We can only that many other pros now follow his lead, and that Augusta suddenly becomes the burrito vendor capital of the world. But that seems unlikely, in the same way that it was always extremely likely that no other tour players would follow Bubba’s lead and get a pink driver (at least he has an honorable reason for that choice – charity – unlike Ian Poulter, who has no excuse to still be wearing tartan trousers and a visor this side of 2009).

Instead some will play at the Valero and take the week before The Masters off meaning that, if they don the green jacket come Sunday, they will be lauded for coming into the year’s first major “mentally rested”. Some will skip this week and play in Houston, meaning if they win they will be praised for “getting up to tournament sharpness” in the city that’s always hearing about other people’s problems.

Some will play both weeks—meaning they will be described as “burned out, physically and emotionally” if they miss the cut. And then there is world No.1 Rory McIlroy, who is now going into hiding for the next 14 days before taking on the huge attention that will follow him everywhere at Augusta.

That means he’ll be slated if he doesn’t win, told he came into the tournament “too cold” after so long on the sidelines. But if he wins, he’ll be positively deified for “doing it his way” and preparing himself so well in seclusion.

At Bay Hill McIlroy finished just outside the top ten, leading him to suggest he might not be the favourite to win in just over two weeks. Then again, some of the other things he said had the ring of a man pretty confident about his chances.

“[It] wasn’t the way I wanted to finish but gives me what I need going into the next couple of weeks preparing for Augusta,” McIlroy said. “I definitely feel like I’ve taken some strides in the right direction. 

“What I was working on last week, you know, I feel like I’ve made progress in that and I get a couple weeks to work on some more stuff and hopefully be ready for the start of Augusta.”

He added: “You know, it’s almost like it’s nice to be able to try and build yourself up. I don’t feel like I’m right there. I feel like I’m just gradually building myself up so it’s actually not a bad position to be in.”

McIlroy will spend time on the range working on a few issues with his coach—his putting and wedge play looked a bit off at the API, while he admitted he is struggling to hit a consistent draw right now—and will doubtless hit the gym regularly to continue his physical overhaul.

He has already had an early look at the Augusta course (playing alongside Super Bowl winning quarter-back Tom Brady, no less), so that should free up a bit more time in his schedule, but even so his calendar is unlikely to contain many trips out for burritos.

Which, if Watson really is onto something, might be the one fatal flaw in an otherwise brilliant plan.

McIlroy will spend time on the range working on a few issues with his coach—his putting and wedge play looked a bit off at the API, while he admitted he is struggling to hit a consistent draw right now—and will doubtless hit the gym regularly to continue his physical overhaul.

He has already had an early look at the Augusta course (playing alongside Super Bowl winning quarter-back Tom Brady, no less), so that should free up a bit more time in his schedule, but even so his calendar is unlikely to contain many trips out for burritos.

Which, if Watson really is onto something, might be the one fatal flaw in an otherwise brilliant plan.

2. Dressed to impress

It says something for the state of golf in the dead period between, er, now and The Masters (sorry again, Texas), that the big news involves … clothes.
 
On Monday Nike revealed McIlroy’s planned attire for the four days of competition at Augusta National. Nothing particularly unusual about that, you may think, except Nike also revealed the planned arrangement for Tiger Woods—who is yet to reveal whether or not he will play in the year’s first major (not publicly, at least).

To some, starved of any other concrete news about the current world No. 96, this was taken as evidence that Woods would indeed be playing at Augusta. To others it meant nothing—that not revealing Woods’ wardrobe, after doing so with McIlroy’s, would stirred further suspicion in the other direction.

“It would be wonderful to see him back playing the golf we all know he can play at Augusta,” Darren Clarke, a long-time friend of Woods, said this week. “He is struggling a bit with his fitness and his game…With some of the scores he’s had, it’s not the Tiger we know.

“I don’t think we should be too hasty to write him off because he’s gone through so many swing changes in the past and managed to prove people wrong. He’s one of the best players that’s ever played the game and we tend to forget that a bit too quickly.

“He’s four years younger than me when I won a major. You can’t be as good as he was then lose it all.”

The overriding sense has always been that Woods will play at Augusta (he has rarely been able to resist the lure of a major when horribly injured, let alone when simply in horrible form). Nevertheless, perhaps it is best not to read too much into one style consultant putting together a wardrobe for a fading sports star…

3. Do it like they do it on the Discovery Channel

And finally: MJ Maguire knows his golf ball isn’t going to go anywhere, doesn’t he? He looks like a lion stalking his prey in this brilliant video.

And we thought Keegan Bradley’s pre-shot routine was bizarre…

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