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Bubba's Emotions Keep Him from Being Great

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COMMENTARY | Two years ago, Bubba Watson was deadlocked in a pressure packed extra-hole playoff at the 2012 Masters. Standing in the right tree line on hole No. 10 at Augusta National, Watson pulled off what could arguably be one of the greatest shots in major championship history.

Moments later, Watson holed out his final putt to officially become a major champion for the first time. He would then be seen celebrating on the green in typical Bubba fashion: tears streaming down his face while hugging everyone in sight. It was one of the more heartfelt and genuine sports reactions anyone had seen in a long time.

Unfortunately for Bubba, the tendency to wear his emotions on his sleeve is also preventing him from becoming one of golf's all-time greats.

A glaring example of Watson's inability to control his emotions was seen during Saturday's third round of the Travelers Championship.

While standing on the tee at hole No.17 after having just made bogeys at the 13th and 15th, Watson was noticeably agitated moments before addressing his tee shot. He brought his club up to the top but suddenly halted on his downswing, distracted by a conversation being held by two men in the gallery behind the tee box. Watson glared in their direction while his caddie scolded the onlookers, just as any good caddie would do. Seconds later, Watson made a terrible swing and hacked his tee shot into a greenside bunker en route to another dropped shot.

I don't blame Watson for stopping his swing while two knuckleheads were chatting away yards behind him. Most players on tour would have done the same. However, it was quite obvious that Bubba was "on tilt" at that stage of his third round, thus allowing his three-shot lead to slowly disappear. The incident on hole No. 17 only made matters worse.

While he has improved greatly over the years, Watson has a history of letting his emotions - and temper - get the best of him. After having already earned a reputation of being cantankerous on the golf course after his 2006 Tour debut, an on-camera incident involving Watson and playing partner Steve Elkington in a 2008 New Orleans tournament remains a blemish on Bubba's locker room reputation. In recent years Watson has preferred to voice his opinions over social media, preferring Twitter as his online sounding board whenever he is so inspired.

Watson enters Sunday's final round of the Travelers Championship in a three-way tie for the lead with Charley Hoffman and Graham DeLaet. If he can find a way to keep his emotions under control for 18 holes, Bubba has the chance to earn his fifth PGA Tour victory of his career.

Then again, that's a pretty big "if".

Adam Fonseca has been covering professional golf since 2005. His work has been published on numerous digital outlets including the Back9Network and SB Nation. Follow Adam on Twitter at @chicagoduffer.

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