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Bubba cuts layoff short to support Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS – Bubba Watson’s planned four-month layoff lasted about half as long as intended.

While at The Northern Trust, the first leg of the FedExCup Playoffs, in late August, Watson told reporters: “You know, truthfully, when I'm done with the playoffs, no matter where that is, I'm taking at least four and a half months off. I won't play until next year.”

And yet, here he is, in the field at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

What changed?

Two things. A tragic event, and a go-ahead from his wife, Angie.

“My wife had knee surgery,” Watson said Tuesday. “Thirty-two staples later, she’s doing good. The whole goal was to stay home, be a stay-at-home dad and help her out.”

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And Watson was doing just that, helping out at home, volunteering at his son’s school, and having “a blast” watching his daughter attend pre-school.

But he was also getting a little restless and working diligently on his game.

“I was so bored,” he joked. “I wanted to play golf.”

Angie could tell, and she was ready to give Bubba the green light, a decision made even easier by the couple’s desire to support Las Vegas. Less than a month ago, on Oct. 1, the city’s famed Strip became the site of the deadliest mass shooting in American history, when a gunman killed 58 people and injured more than 500 others.

“[Angie] said, ‘You really want to go play don’t you?’” Watson recounted. “’And I said, ‘Yeah, I really do. … She said, ‘Vegas is a great place. Why don’t you go there and support it?’ So she gave me the pass to. … It just made sense.”

“Why would you not want to come here and support this place and show love? I mean, all I’m doing is playing golf. But [I’m] trying to show the city – it’s a beautiful city, and it’s a great place for people to come.”

Taking advantage of a trip he didn’t expect to take, Watson on Monday night took in some of the city’s nightlife, seeing ventriloquist Terry Fator, whom he called “unbelievable.”