The Masters: Jameer Nelson talks Bubba Watson and Augusta
Bubba Watson and Jameer Nelson are Isleworth buddies. Nelson talks about what he sees in Watson and why he can win multiple majors.
Watson recently moved into Tiger Woods' old house in Isleworth, Fla. Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson also lives in the neighborhood, and the two have become fast friends.
Nelson goes to Watson's golf tournaments, Watson attends Magic games, and so on.
I recently had a chance to talk to Nelson about what drew him to Watson, what they learn from each other, and how his golf game is.
Kyle Porter: How did your friendship with Bubba Watson come about?
Jameer Nelson: We belong to the same golf club in our neighborhood. You always see guys around and respect what guys do, and you just become friends.
Porter: You said Watson does stuff right on and off the course. What kind of off-the-course stuff were you talking about?
Nelson: I mean, everything. He's a man of God. He's a family man. He's humble. But also he has a swagger to him, which he needs to have when he's out there playing. I think he has a lot of great qualities that a lot of people can model themselves behind.
Porter: He comes to some Magic games. Do you go to any of his golf tournaments?
Nelson: Yeah, I went to Bay Hill. He got me tickets there. I'm going to the [U.S.] Open in Pennsylvania, which is literally five minutes from my house in Pennsylvania, so I'll get to go see him play there.
It's tough right now with travel to do things during the season, but we stay in contact with each other and check up on each other. I'm on the road right now, but he saw my family at church the other night.
Porter: Do you play a lot of golf?
Nelson: Not really. I got into it last year. It's new to me, but I'm getting there. I've probably played more this year than I have in the past.
Porter: Is Bubba better at basketball, or are you better at golf?
Nelson: [Long laugh] I can't comment on that.
Porter: Yeah, you know he's going to read this.
Nelson: Ha, ha. Yeah, I know. I'll put it like this -- he's definitely not better than me at basketball.
Porter: So he moved into Tiger's old house. Did you and Tiger live in the same neighborhood at the same time?
Nelson: I'm kind of new to the neighborhood as well, so [Bubba and I] kind of joined the neighborhood at the same time.
Porter: Ian Poulter goes to a lot of Magic games. Is he in the same neighborhood, or do you guys hang out?
Nelson: No, he's not [in the same neighborhood], but that's my guy as well. I actually talked to him [on Sunday]. He's going to come to our game in San Antonio on Wednesday. I'm not sure if I'll get to see him, but I get to see those guys a lot in Orlando. He lives in a different neighborhood.
Porter: So golf is totally different than basketball in terms of competition. But in hanging out with those guys and watching them train and practice and play, what do you take away and kind of apply to your own game?
Nelson: I'll never be who they are on the course, but I'm a competitor just like those guys. We're professionals. And when you're doing something, you try to do it in a professional manner and try to do it to your best ability.
I can't go out there and try to emulate any of those guys; they're too good for me to do that. I respect what they do tremendously.
Porter: What happens first: Orlando Magic win an NBA championship or Bubba Watson wins another major?
Nelson: You put me in a tough spot because we're not winning, but he has a great opportunity to win a major and more than just one. I'm pulling for him and, obviously, I'm pulling for the Magic to win a championship as well.
Porter: And your Masters pick this year?
Nelson: Gotta go with Bubba.
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