Lessons from a Bad Golf Joke

What I learned from Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson didn’t have much to say when he failed to make the cut at last week’s Masters golf tournament, so he made a joke that he later admitted was as bad as his game. Watson, who has won the tournament twice, told a reporter after shooting a 78 in Friday’s round that, “Golf is tough; I don’t know if you’ve ever played it. But writing articles is easy.”

As you might expect, sports journalists fired back. That’s because sports journalists tend to only have a sense of humor when it’s aimed at someone else. I know, because I once was a sports journalist. At any rate, Watson later apologized, saying, “Obviously I made a bad joke, just like I played bad golf this week.”

Good for him. But even if he intended it as a joke, that doesn’t mean he was wrong. I’ve played golf. And I’ve written articles. I’ve never done either with Masters-level quality, but I can tell you that writing an article is far easier than hitting a 5-iron with accuracy, especially with thousands of people watching and a 30-mile-an-hour wind blowing. And I don’t care how poorly you write, you still probably write better than you play golf. Because, as Watson pointed out, golf is hard. If I shot at 78 at Augusta National, by the way, I’d be leaping for joy – even if I only played the front nine.

In my never-ended quest to learn something from everything, I reflected on this little slice (no pun intended) of American history and asked myself, “What can I learn from all of this?”

Mostly, it was a reminder: Don’t take myself too seriously. Don’t take offense too easily. Forgive others who take themselves too seriously. And don’t play golf for a living.