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PING’s Bubba Watson clears the air over recent PGA Championship antics
Bubba Watson is a two-time Masters champion, but that hasn’t saved him from some pretty scathing criticism for something he didn’t do at the PGA Championship two weeks ago, while he also came under fire for a few things he did do…
The things Bubba didn’t do then. He chose not to participate in the PGA Championship’s revitalised long-drive competition that was held during that Tuesday’s practice round on the par-5 10th hole at Valhalla, which drew the ire from many in attendance. Watson -- the longest hitter in the game -- protested the competition by electing to hit an iron off the tee instead of the driver he would use in competition.
And the things Bubba did do? Well it pretty much boiled down to the player’s attitude on the greens.
Bubba allowed a couple of temper tantrums to invade his calm on the course, which included some choice curse words, complaints about rain water collecting on his clubface (which he believed influenced shots) and also having caddie Ted Scott place a tee in the ground for him so he didn’t need to leave the dry safety of his umbrella.
The world took Watson to task for his antics, but no one was quite as vocal as veteran journalist Dave Kindred in his piece for Golf Digest. It looked like fireworks between to two would be sparked when they met face-to-face the day after Kindred’s column was published, but rather than the explosions everyone expected, Bubba took the criticism to heart and thanked Kindred, saying: "I need to be held accountable."
And on Tuesday, Bubba reiterated his acceptance to take responsibility while speaking with writers at The Barclay.
The GolfChannel.com ran a piece by Jason Sobel in which Watson talked about the fallout from his actions at the PGA Championship. He said: "Not competing in the Long Drive was the first mistake. That was the selfish part, because I didn't agree with it, but there's a lot of things that I don't agree with that I do."
The PING golfer added: "Then you look at it from my attitude on the golf course. Because I want something so bad, that's not the reason to do that. You still just bite your tongue and compete at a high level, don't show emotion. I take it overboard because I want something so bad. I want to be considered a great player. I want to win golf tournaments and I've got to learn on that.
"And then my language was not good. That's a different topic and childish again. It's all childish stuff and trying to mature and become a better man. Obviously, I take it on the chin. It was my fault. Everything's my fault and I should be bigger and stronger and better than that."
Watson also explained that he did do something right at the PGA Championship besides making the cut. When his round was finished and the rain was beginning to pick up again at Valhalla, a fan asked Watson if he could have his umbrella.
“I was like, 'you know what, that's a good question.' So I just gave it to him. I was like, 'I'm done. You need it more than I do.’”
But the good deeds didn’t stop there. Watson’s on-course treatment of his caddie was something that many have criticised over the years. However, Scott has always seemed to understand Watson better than anyone else, and has a good relationship with the American. Watson obviously recognises this and surprised Scott and his wife with a nice bonus for a successful year.
That Bubba, he’s a good guy really.