Bubba Watson turned 36 on Wednesday. He says it’s finally time to grow up.
Speaking to reporters at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, Watson said that he “loves” when the media or his friends call him out on his bad behavior because that’s the only way that he can improve as a person.
But his fiercest critic? It just might be his mother, Molly.
“She tells me that I’m not being good,” he said. “She tells me I should smile more and not be so angry. Pretty much what the media says. I guess she could write for the media, too.”
Despite winning two Masters titles and being one of the star attractions at PGA Tour events, Watson has developed a poor reputation for his, um, on-course comportment.
At the 2013 Travelers, he was caught on camera berating his caddie, Ted Scott, after a poor tee shot down the stretch. Watson admitted to acting like a child at this year’s PGA, where he refused to take part in the event’s long-drive competition (despite being arguably the longest hitter in golf), then dropped an obscenity, whined about water on his club face and made Scott set up his ball on a tee so he wouldn’t get wet during a memorable second round. On Wednesday, he called those incidents “hiccups” and “bad moments” that gave him “bad press.”
“Any time that somebody writes bad press, the only way I’m going to improve as a human being, improve as a husband, improve as a dad, is when you get people that call you out,” he told reporters. “When I make mistakes, when your friends call you out, when the media calls you out, when my wife calls me out, when my mom calls me out, when those people call you out and tell you you’re doing something wrong, it’s not to punish you. It’s not to get on you. It’s to help you improve later in life.
“Any time that there’s bad press or I show anger on the golf course, the media that calls me out and says something about it, that’s the only way I’m going to improve. If everybody said I was great all the time, then I would never improve as a human being. I love it. I love that the media calls me out. I love that my friends call me out. My mom calls me out a lot. That’s the only way I’m going to get better as a person.”