Bubba Watson’s father died Thursday.
Gerry Watson, who taught his son to play golf growing up in their hometown of Bagdad, Fla., had been battling throat cancer. A former Green Beret, he was a giant influence on his son’s life. He died in Pensacola, Fla., where he had made his new home.
“I'm playing this for him and representing the United States,' Bubba said of his father on the eve of the Ryder Cup in Wales two weeks ago. “More than likely I am never going to be in the military, so this is the chance to be like my dad.”
Watson first let his fans know of his father’s death through his Twitter account.
“Everyone, it’s a sad day for my family!!” Watson tweeted. “My dad passed.”
Bubba was named after his father, but he’s never gone by the name Gerry.
'I’d say 10 seconds after I was born, my daddy took a good look at me,” Bubba once said. “He said I was so fat and ugly, `Let's call him Bubba.'”
Bubba attributed his success to his father, the only swing coach he ever knew.
“My dad taught me everything I know,” said Watson, who broke through in June to win his first PGA Tour event, the Travelers Championship. “I've never had a lesson. My dad, he took me to the golf course when I was 6 years old and just told me he was going to be in the woods looking for his ball. He just told me to take this 9-iron and beat it down the fairway. And now look at me, after beating a 9-iron on the fairway, coming from Bagdad, Fla., I never dreamed.”
Watson and his wife, Angie, are headed to Pensacola to be with family, according to Watson's management team. Bubba has asked that anyone who wants to honor his father's memory can do so by making a donation in Gerry Watson Sr.'s name to the Green Beret Foundation at http://www.birdiesforthebrave.com/bubba.aspx