Some surprises are better than others – like Bubba Watson unexpectedly arriving in the Golf Channel parking lot, ready to hop on “Morning Drive.”
That’s what happened Tuesday, as the newly crowned Masters champion arrived on set wearing his green jacket, green Masters tie and white Augusta National dress shirt – the same outfit, he said, that he wore last week at the Champions Dinner. This was his one and only media appearance before heading to The Greenbrier for a family vacation.
For about a half hour, Watson discussed everything from how he “blacked out” on the second nine to how he didn’t notice Jordan Spieth’s boiling frustration to how he’s better equipped to deal with major No. 2.
Here are some of the highlights:
• Much was made of Watson’s mammoth drive Sunday on 13, but the former University of Georgia player said that he’d hit wedge into that green before, back in college. “This time I hit sand wedge, though,” he said, “so I guess I’ve improved a little bit.”
• Watson always had a dream to walk up the 18th fairway high-fiving fans, but was advised by caddie Ted Scott to “make sure you get this victory first.” Bubba settled for high-fives around 18 after holing out and hugging his family behind the green.
• Watson on his birdie attempt on 18, which he could four-putt and still win: “I told (Scott) to read it, because I couldn’t see anything right now.”
• When asked how his young son, Caleb, has turned him into a different man, Watson joked: “I don’t know if I’m a man yet – I still cry a lot. I need to be more manly about that, I guess.”
• Watson won’t go on a media tour after this Masters victory. Instead, he and his family are heading to The Greenbrier for a vacation, and they plan on hosting a party on Friday. He also hopes to take his green jacket to the Florida Panhandle, where he grew up, and maybe throw out the first pitch for the minor-league team in Pensacola.
• What Watson thought as he watched the kids compete in the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship prior to the Masters: “This is an inspiration. The game of golf, it grew on Sunday. It grew when these kids were there. … It’s going to grow more when families get involved, when parents spend more time with their child (on the course). It’s going to grow y’all closer together. The game is frustrating, but they’re learning together.”
• On whether he wants Caleb, 2, to someday compete in the Drive, Chip & Putt: “I would love it. That’d definitely be better than me winning again. It’d be an honor and privilege for my kid to perform there.”
• Some have criticized runner-up Jordan Spieth for his behavior during the final round. Watson, however, said he didn’t notice: “I didn’t have any idea any of that was going on. I don’t think he was immature. Who doesn’t get mad? He’s 20 years old, trying to win. He just gets excited. He’s going to improve on it. It didn’t bother me at all. I love the kid to death. It’s one of those things where he’s trying to win a green jacket.”
• Watson says he gets “overwhelmed” when people praise him: “The first time I won (the Masters), it was overwhelming. It might not seem like it, but I shy from (praise). It really gets under my skin and I don’t know how to deal with it. But the steps I’ve made in my life, I’ll handle it a little better. I still might not play good golf, but I think my emotions will be a lot better; my drive is a lot different now. Everything is different in my life, and it’s going in a direction that I want it to go in.”