Greenbrier Classic: Watson says confrontation blown out of proportion
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - Bubba Watson is making his first appearance at the Greenbrier Classic, already the center of attention despite dropping from 13th to 39th in the FedEx Cup points standings.
His week off following back-to-back fourth-place finishes at the Travelers Championship and CVS Caremark Charity Classic, respectively, put him in a precarious situation at the par 70, 7,287-yard Old White TPC, where he has ground to make up in his quest for a FedEx Cup championship.
He'll tee off at 1 p.m. today from the No. 1 hole with Phil Mickelson and Classic defending champion Ted Potter Jr.
While the native of Bagdad, Fla., is managing the ins and outs of the Old White, he's still dealing with the well-publicized dust-up between him and caddy Ted Scott on June 23 at the Travelers Championship.
Watson is trying to extend his streak of seasons with a PGA Tour win to four, and led at the Travelers by two strokes going to the par-3 No. 16.
Scott's choice of clubs led to Watson hitting his tee shot into a water hazard. After taking a drop and hitting his ball over the green, Watson asked his caddy sarcastically: "So, you're telling me that's, that's the right yardage?"
Watson, who won the Travelers in 2010, putted short on his fifth shot of the hole, and said, "There's just no reason for me to show up."
His triple bogey resulted in a fourth-place finish, and a CBS commentator said, "Somewhere along the line you've, ah, 'Hey, you hit it bud.'"
Watson followed up his showing at Cromwell, Conn., by shooting 18-under at the CVS Caremark Charity Classic, dealing with criticism from the Travelers incident. A Christian, Watson has admitted to getting frustrated and overreacting on the golf course and even faced criticism on the Christian Broadcasting Network's website.
In one website story, it was reported that Watson "went ballistic on his bagman," and another reminded readers of Watson's past struggles with his temper.
Still, Watson felt the incident was blown out of proportion, and has an interesting perspective on the circumstances.
"You don't deal with it, the media's going to say one thing," Watson said after walking off the 18th green following Wednesday's Pro-Am. "There will be people that love you and people that hate you. That's just life. You can't make everybody love you. If you could, that would be a secret for everybody to learn."
It was widely reported that Watson picked up his bag after his performance on 16 at the Travelers, looking as if he would finish out the round on his own. Rumors abound that his next step would be to fire his caddy, who was on his bag the last eight years.
Watson explained that that isn't the case.
"We're going on eight years now, he could quit right now if he didn't like who I am as a boss," he said. "We laughed about it, because it was blown out of proportion. I'm not firing him; he's not quitting me. We're a great team together, we've won some great tournaments together."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at email@example.com or 304-348-4837.