Bubba Watson Wins the Masters, Celebrates by Thanking Fans on Twitter

Bubba Watson with the General LeeHe has never taken a golf lesson. He owns the General Lee, the classic Dodge Charger from the Dukes of Hazzard. He’s the southern boy wearing overalls with no shirt in the parody boy band The Golf Boys. He’s considering serving In-N-Out Burgers at the Masters Champions Dinner next year. It appears, on the surface, that Bubba Watson, the latest, and maybe most improbable Masters champion, does not take himself too seriously.

Look a little deeper though. There is another side to Watson. The side with a newly adopted son; a baby boy that Watson referred to as a “gamechanger” on Twitter late in March. There is the devout Christian side of Watson; the side that Watson displayed a few hours before his memorable final round at Augusta National when he tweeted, “Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” There’s the emotional side; the side on display for all the world to see when Watson won golf’s most prestigious tournament on Sunday afternoon.

Look even further. There is a humble side. A gracious side. A grounded side. By now you know the name Bubba Watson. He who won the 76th Masters Tournament Sunday afternoon after a miraculous shot out of the woods on the 2nd sudden death playoff hole. He who bawled uncontrollably, first with his caddie, and then with his mother, after sinking his final putt. Both were impressive and heartwarming to see. Yet it was what Watson did on Monday morning that really stuck with me.

Bubba Watson Thanks Fans on TwitterYou see, Bubba Watson, like many other professional athletes, is on Twitter. In the moments first during, and then after, his victory at Augusta, his Twitter handle, @bubbawatson, was flooded with mentions. It would be easy for any professional athlete to write a generic “thank you” tweet to all those who said congratulations, and Watson did just that, tweeting, “Thanks to all my tweeter Friends for the support!! #loveyall.” Yet Watson went a step further. He went through his timeline and wrote an individual message of “thanks” to 32 Twitter followers.

That may not seem like much. After all, Watson has almost 450,000 followers on Twitter. However, while so many social media commentators talk about athletes using Twitter as a way to converse directly with fans, very few athletes actually use it as anything more than a digital billboard. Athletes often cite the ability to communicate directly with fans as a primary reason for their using of Twitter. Yet many still take advantage of this feature by sending mass messages to large fan bases. What makes Watson’s situation unique is that he sent 32 individual messages to various well-wishers.

Watson has shown that he understands the way Twitter is used. He frequently uses Twitter to converse with other PGA tour members, professional athletes, and sports reporters. Just in the past 24 hours, Watson has talked golf with Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy, exchanged diaper stories with ESPN reporter Dana Jacobson, and set a golfing date with Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick.

Watson’s win at the Master’s has made him the number four golfer in the world golf rankings. He currently sits at number three on TweetStarGame.com, a web-site that seeks to measure and rank professional athletes on Twitter, with a 74 Klout score. It’s par saves and long drives that can push Watson to the top of the world golf rankings in due time. It’s engagement with fans and other TweetStars alike that will set Watson apart from his fellow PGAers on the TweetStarGame leaderboard.

Do you follow Bubba Watson on Twitter? Has a professional athlete ever responded directly to a tweet of yours? How did it make you feel? Let us know in the comments section below!

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