WHO'S THE BOSS? BUBBA WATSON, AND HE LIKES IT THAT WAY

By Steve DiMeglio, USA TODAY

CHARLOTTE — Bubba doesn't need advice.

Bubba said Tiger Woods doesn't, either. In fact, Bubba said Woods is going the wrong way with his golf game.

Bubba Watson, a free spirit who happens to be the hottest player on the PGA Tour right with three wins in the last 10 months, said Wednesday that the key to his success is that Bubba is the boss of Bubba.

"Why do I want somebody to tell me what to do, tell me what I'm doing wrong? I want to be the boss," Watson said on the eve of the Wells Fargo Championship. "My dad taught me to be a leader or a follower, and he said follower ain't fun. So I want to be the leader of Bubba Watson.

"What I say goes. I'm hitting shots that I want to hit. I'm doing the things that I want to do. I play it my way. People started coining the phrase, 'Bubba Golf,' whatever you want to call it, which I like. 'Bubba Golf' is going to be fun. I mean, why do what everybody else does? That's boring."

Bubba Golf also has been working. The big-hitting Watson has won three of his past 20 starts, including last week's playoff victory over Webb Simpson in the Zurich Classic. During this stretch, Watson earned a spot on the Ryder Cup team, lost in a playoff at the PGA Championship and assumed the lead in the year-long FedExCup race.

And he's surged to No. 10 in the world golf rankings.

He has done all of this, mind you, without ever having a swing coach or a sports psychologist in his ear — a decision he said would help Woods.

"It's just not the way I go about it," said Watson, who would rather play video games for hours, jet ski for days and entertain his 122,000 followers on Twitter with videos and interesting quips from months on end. "Sometimes I think some of the great players, they get too wrapped up in the mental part of the game. I'll just go ahead and say it. I think Tiger is going the wrong way. I think he's so mental right now with his swing. Just go out there and play golf.

"He used to hit shots, used to bomb it, used to do all that stuff. In 2000 and '97 I think he did pretty good. He won the Masters by 48 shots or whatever he won it by. But I think sometimes he gets carried away on (thinking too much). And a lot of guys do."

Watson added that he's good friends with swing coaches Sean Foley (working with Woods), Hank Haney (used to work with Woods) and Butch Harmon (used to work with Woods).

"I know them as people, I know them as friends," Watson said, "but I don't ask them for advice."

Featured groupings

Bubba Watson, who won last week's Zurich Classic to join Bob Charles, Phil Mickelson and Mike Weir as the only left-handers in Tour history to win twice in the same season, begins his search for a third W alongside defending Wells Fargo champion Rory McIlroy and 2006 champion Jim Furyk (7:30 a.m. ET today; 12:40 p.m. Friday). Mickelson, who finished runner-up to McIlroy last year, returns to the Tour and plays with Nick Watney and Gary Woodland (12:40 p.m. today; 7:30 a.m. Friday).

Hole of the week

The par-3, 217-yard 17th is a beauty — and a beast. Quail Hollow's signature hole requires a 200-yard carry over water to a precariously perched, back-to-front and right-to-left sloping green. Last year the hole played as the second toughest in the tournament (3.343 average). It yielded 41 birdies and produced 121 bogeys, 27 doubles and eight dreaded others.

Stat of the week

47

Number of three-putts on the par-4 fourth hole in the 2010 Wells Fargo Championship. Only the 13th (82) and 11th (79) holes on the Old Course at St. Andrews in the British Open had more three-putts.

Stattitude

The Tour introduced a new putting stat that became official Monday, the first addition of a core stat in 15 years. Developed with involvement from Columbia University and MIT, the new stat (Strokes Gained-Putting) uses Shotlink data over an entire year to measure how well a player putts compared with the field. The complicated math behind the statistic starts with determining how many putts on average it takes a Tour player to sink a putt from a variety of distances. For instance, players have a 50% chance of making a putt from 8 feet. Thus, the average stroke for that length is 1.5. If a player makes the 8-footer, he will have gained 0.5 strokes on the field. If he takes two putts, he will have lost 0.5 strokes to the field. The average for a 20-foot putt is about 1.9. If he makes the putt, he gains 0.9 on the field, whereas if he misses the putt, he loses only 0.1 strokes. All of these are added up at the end of each round and you have "Putts Gained." Nick Watney is the current Tour leader at 1.215, which means Watney gains an average of about 1.2 strokes on the field per round through his putting. A full breakdown of the stat is at www.pgatour.com/putting.