Last fall it was Tim Tebow. His optimism, hard work, and gregarious Christianity made him beloved among some fans and despised by others.
Then Jeremy Lin captivated New York City by stepping in for an injury plagued New York Knicks franchise to carry it during a key run early in the season. His Harvard education, positive attitude, and strong Christian faith won him a sudden army of fans and endless band puns on his name.
Now meet Bubba Watson. He just won the most prestigious tournament in golf, at least this side of the British Open. And he reminds you more of a year round resident of Augusta, rather than a member of the PGA traveling road show. He is unassuming, plays for fun instead of profit, is unabashedly Christian, and completely irreverent.
In other words, the anti-Tiger.
Watson, like Phil Mickelson, is completely fan friendly. Unlike Mickelson, he has a strong charisma that will build a good following if he continues to win. These guys together are good for golf in that they make the game more accessible and appealing to the fans in a way that Tiger Woods never could.
Woods was once as consistent as a machine, and almost as friendly. It was hard to really root for him because he radiated so little warmth, like pulling for the drill against John Henry.
Watson and Mickelson are making golf fun again. Friendly with fans, men of good character, these are people that can bring people back to the game.
And these guys, as well as Tebow and Lin, remind us that good people sometimes do finish first.