Bubba Watson always wears his emotions on his sleeve, so it was no surprise when he teared up following his 10th PGA Tour victory in the Genesis Open at Riviera Sunday, a win that marked a comeback from a year of desperation in which he considered retirement.
Those listening to his immediate post-round comments (listen HERE) with Peter Kostis heard him thank his team for sticking with him, including “Chance with Ping.”
Chance is Chance Cozby, Bartlesville native, youngest son of Oklahoma Golf Hall of Famer Jerry Cozby and the vice president of sports development at Ping, meaning he is in charge of writing and managing contracts with the 125 golfers on 12 tours that are under contract with Ping.
Watson has played Ping clubs since he was a child, but it was Chance who made sure the commitment stuck. He was with Watson when he Monday qualified for his first PGA Tour event, the 2002 Compaq Classic in New Orleans (now the Zurich Classic).
“We took him to dinner that night and had a great night,” Chance told Golf Oklahoma Tuesday from the range at the Honda Classic. “We knew who he was.”
Watson signed with Ping and has been under contract since. He didn’t break on to the PGA Tour with regularity until 2006, but has gone on to become a two-time Masters champion and, along with Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen, the most high profile of Ping’s contracted endorsers.
Chance and his team stuck by Watson’s side last year as he battled physical issues that caused him to lose significant weight and strength as well as confidence issues. He considered retirement but instead has bounced back to win on a very difficult course for the third time, displaying the remarkable ball striking and shot making skills that made him unique.
“He’s an unbelievable shot maker,” Chance said. “How he shapes the ball and how he thinks is like nothing I’ve ever seen. He’s a unique guy to hang out with, because he thinks so differently about everything, not just golf. He hears the beat of his own drummer and see shots and plays golf differently than anyone else on this range.”
The relationship between Watson and Cozby has been beneficial for both. Chance and wife Erica were in Butler Cabin with the team after Watson won his first Masters in 2012 and he attended the Champions Dinner with him the following year.
“He’s created some unique experiences for me,” Chance said. “It was neat for him to mention us in that way after last week. We’re strong supporters of our guys whether they’re playing good or bad and we’ve just always wanted him to know how much we support him.”
Chance, now a long-time resident of Phoenix, will serve as the 2019 tournament chairman for the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.