Watson evolves to father and Masters champion

By Jay CoffinApril 9, 2012, 12:39 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Bubba Watson is thrilled that he won the Masters. He hopes it earns him two weeks off from changing baby diapers.

Watch out world. Bubba Watson officially has grown up.

In a lot of ways, Watson’s magical Sunday at Augusta National is just another step in his evolution.

It wasn’t too long ago when wife Angie and caddie Ted Scott sat down with Watson to have a heart-to-heart conversation about his actions on the golf course. He was petulant, he was emotional, he was annoying and, frankly, he wasn’t as good as he thought he was. The meeting was an intervention of sorts. Scott threatened to leave the bag.

“I was going the wrong way,” Watson says. “I was so wrapped up in what everybody else was doing.”

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Since that day eight years ago, Watson has tried to be a better person. The plan hasn’t always worked to perfection, but he’s well rounded more today than at any point in his life.

There are many reasons why.

First, he’s older. At 33, Watson has been around the block more than he was in 2003, when he first arrived as an arrogant kid on the PGA Tour.

Second, he’s dealt with issues that have made him more responsible, made him stronger in his Christian faith.

The first curveball life threw at him was 18 months ago when his father Gerry passed away after a nasty bout with throat cancer. Gerry Watson was the reason why Bubba played golf. He was his biggest critic and his biggest fan. The emotion that poured from Bubba’s face after his first PGA Tour victory – the 2010 Travelers Championship – was because he knew his father was in failing health.

Shortly after his father’s death, Angie was diagnosed with having an abnormally sized pituitary gland, a situation that is not a problem now, but was a scare at the time.

Watson won twice on the PGA Tour in 2011 (Farmers Insurance Open and Zurich Classic) and established himself as an American star. But there was still something missing.

Bubba and Angie had always wanted a child but Angie told Bubba on their first date a decade ago that they’d have to adopt if they wanted their dream to become reality.

They started the adoption process four years ago but never got serious about it until this past winter. They were turned down multiple times, the last time coming on Monday of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. But a day later the phone rang again; this time it was good news. A family liked the Watson’s profile and wanted them to adopt their newborn son.

Instead of withdrawing from Bay Hill, Watson still played – and, amazingly, tied for fourth place – then drove with Angie to South Florida the following Monday morning to meet baby Caleb for the first time.

“We’ve had a few disappointments over the last six months,” Angie Watson said. “It’s shocking to me, Bubba’s strength throughout the season to play as well as he has because we’ve had so many ups and downs throughout this process.”

Watson had a hiccup a month ago at the WGC-Cadillac Championship when he held a comfortable lead heading into the final round at Doral but shot 74 to lose to Justin Rose. Many questioned Watson’s ability to deal with pressure down the stretch while in contention.

Two weeks after that blunder, though, Watson became father to Caleb, who is now 6-weeks-old.

“He’s grown a lot and he’s not done,” said Johan Elliott, a member of Watson’s management team. “Having Caleb has been a calming factor that’s for sure.”

Angie and Caleb were not at Augusta National Sunday to support Bubba. The family believed that Caleb’s young life had been disrupted enough and that he didn’t need the stress of flying to Georgia to see his daddy.

So Bubba went it alone, using his pink driver and swashbuckling style to shoot a final-round 68 and get into a playoff with 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen. Watson bogeyed the historic 12th hole in regulation and then responded with a flurry of birdies on Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16.

Rickie Fowler, Aaron Baddeley and Ben Crane came out to watch the playoff and support Watson because they knew his family was not there.

Watson kept his emotions in check and pulled off one of the most imaginative shots in major championship history on the second playoff hole when he couldn’t see the green, but hooked a wedge shot off pine needles from 155 yards to 10 feet. An easy two-putt sealed the green jacket when Oosthuizen couldn’t convert par.

“Being so talented and so emotional in one package and to be able to pull that together is insane,” Elliott said.

What’s insane is that Watson is now a Masters champion, something he never dreamed as a kid because he felt it was unattainable. But it has now happened, and Watson’s evolution is a major reason why he’s been more successful on the golf course.

“It’s a slow process,” Watson says about his attitude and his game. “Been working hard. It’s gotten better. Last year was a little better and this year is better. Hopefully the years to come it gets better and better.”

So far, so good.

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.