Tuesday 25 October 2016

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson: I'm scared of the dark, heights - and people

James Corrigan

Published 05/04/2016 | 08:02

Bubba Watson is aiming to be mentally right for the task of completing a Masters hat-trick Credit: GETTY IMAGES
Bubba Watson is aiming to be mentally right for the task of completing a Masters hat-trick Credit: GETTY IMAGES

As a two-time champion with the most creative approach in golf, Bubba Watson is certain to attract the galleries here at the 80th Masters.

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But the American has revealed that because of his phobias he would much rather play in front of nobody – and, preferably, away from any tall constructions as well.

Watson is known for his madcap statements, however, these are perhaps the most eye-raising yet. Little wonder, his caddie, Ted Scott, refers to his employer as “a mess”.

“I have a lot of mental issues, Watson. “I just am so fearful of things. I’m scared of heights, scared of buildings falling on me, and scared of the dark. And I’m scared of crowds. In between holes is really scary to me, because there’s so many people that close to you. I’m just scared of people in general, really.”

The 37-year-old has never been officially diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, but is certain he suffers from the condition. But he has overcome his “issues” to win here in 2012 and 2014, as well as well as eight other tournaments as he has risen to fourth in the world. Watson is fancied this week having won the Northern Trust Open in Riviera; the same event before donning the Green Jacket two years ago. Both victories followed runner-up finishes in the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral – the same position he filled at that event last month.

Watson has no doubt he has the talents to achieve the hat-trick, but he is honest enough to admit that his complicated thought processes may hold him back.

“The physical side of the game is easy. I can do that, can hit it far,” he told top TV show 60 Minutes. “I can curve it. I’ve got the shots. It’s just being mentally right, at the moment when it matters most. But it’s a learning process, and I’m getting better at it.”

Scott assists in this regard, although he claims that Watson’s default mood is actually positive. “Phew, man, he is a mess – but he’s a fun mess, you know?’ Scott said. “I think Bubba is an extremely emotional person, but 95 per cent of the time that emotion is happiness.”

This was definitely not true at the Travelers Championship in 2013, when, after a tournament-wrecking triple-bogey, he turned on Scott with one of the most vitriolic player-to-caddie ever to be picked up on TV microphones.

“Ted forgave me, and I told him I looked like a jerk” Watson said. “Gave him a raise trying to make him happy so he wouldn’t quit.”


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