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ATHLETES WITH VISION

EB checks in with two world-class athletes—PGA pro Bubba Watson + Formula One driver Carlos Sainz Jr.—to get the inside line on how they enhance their performance with eyewear

BUBBA WATSON

Background. Pro golfer on the PGA Tour—a nine-time PGA Tour winner and a two-time Masters Tournament Champion (2012 and 2014). He is among the longest drivers on the tour, with an average drive of 305.9 yards—and is one of the few left-handed golfers. Sponsored by Oakley.

What do you love most about golf?

I really love playing golf because of how fun it is and how challenging it can be. I always want to try and hit that shot they say can’t be hit…and to try things that just seem a little crazy.

What are your sport’s unique visual needs?

What makes golf unique [is that] many different visual factors come into play. Not only are there so many colors to evaluate on a hole—greens, browns, blues, and more—but there’s also shading from the trees, maybe a slight overcast that day, or even a reflection off the water.

Favorite Oakley style?

Right now, I’m loving the new Crossrange sunglasses with PRIZM Golf lenses. The style gives me optimal coverage and protection, and it has interchangeable nose pads and temples so I can easily switch between the course and off-course style.

The PRIZM Golf accentuates greens and brown, helping me spot transitions between the fairway, fringe, and rough, and gauge distance with accuracy.

Favorite golfing locale?

I love the Greenbrier Old White. They are doing a lot of great things to rebuild it right now so I’m excited to see the changes and updates.

Best tip for the perfect shot?

The one part of my game I’m always working on is my mental side. If I’m able to have a clear head and look to have fun on the round first and foremost, that’ll help focus my mind, stay committed to shots, and set me up for success.

Bubba Watson at the U.S. Open wearing the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL with PRIZM Golf lenses
Photo courtesy Oakley

CARLOS SAINZ JR.

Background. Professional Formula One racing driver from Spain, and son of double former World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz. The 22-year-old progressed quickly in his winning career from kart racing and car racing (Formula BMW, Formula Renault 2.0, Formula 3) to Formula One. Sponsored by Smith Optics.

What do you love most about racing?

First of all, it is my dream come true! I have worked very hard to be an F1 driver and, as for anyone else, achieving your goals in life comes with a huge satisfaction. The thing I love the most is knowing that I am competing every race against the fastest drivers in the world, the elite of motorsport, and I am thrilled about the opportunity.

What are your sport’s unique visual needs?

Motorsports, and more specifically F1, demand a special ability to make critical decisions in milliseconds based on what you see on the track. Therefore, having “360º” vision is definitely important. At 350 kph, anticipating an overtake, avoiding a broken piece on the track from another driver’s car, or braking on the limit of a corner, for example, can be the difference between having a severe accident or winning a race. As F1 drivers we do very specific exercises when training to improve our reflexes and panoramic vision.

Favorite Smith style?

All the Smith products are awesome and really make a difference…if I have to choose one, it would be the Lowdown model. The lenses provide an incredible clarity in different light conditions.

Best tip for getting in the right mind space for racing?

First, you need to have confidence in your work and the effort you have put into the preparation for the season and each race. Along with the confidence comes relaxation methods and routine, nothing very special, but respecting your own timings and routines is important to stay calm and focused. On top of that, technology is also starting to play a role, like for example, using the new Smith Lowdown Focus glasses, which measure brain waves and help the mind to stay focused.

Carlos Sainz Jr. in the Smith Lowdown matte tortoise sunglass
Photo courtesy Smith Optics