'I want to be No. 1': The Golf Magazine Interview With Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson
Jeff Newton
"I'm a dad but that doesn't take away my drive," says Watson, who'll gun for the top ranking in 2013.

Bubba Watson contains multitudes. It all depends on where you catch him. On the course, he's Bubba the Player, an amalgam of nervous energy and pure focus. On Twitter, he's Bubba the Redneck, tweeting about "this arch I drove round" in Paris.

But Bubba in person is something else: a thoughtful, maturing man of substance, albeit one who dons denim overalls in the mock music group Golf Boys. This depth seems surprising, though maybe it shouldn't. A few years back, as Detroit suffered economically, he pledged to buy only American-made cars. In 2011, while participating in an anonymous Masters players' poll for this magazine, he not only joined the 10 percent who said Augusta National should admit female members -- he suggested we put his comments on the record. And more recently, the 34-year-old and his wife, Angie, became parents of an adopted son, Caleb.

Not content to be another ultra-talented one-major wonder (see: Love and Couples), Watson has reshuffled his goals and now has the World No. 1 ranking in his sights. He may already be golf's best interview. While many players today lack either the interest or insight to discuss the world outside of the PGA Tour, an engaging Bubba sits down to talk golf, life, gun control, panic attacks, President Obama, The Dukes of Hazzard, wisdom that comes with age, and the swing from last year's Masters that was even more amazing than the Hook Seen 'Round the World.

The last time we saw you wearing the green jacket was on Late Show with David Letterman that Tuesday after your Masters win. Fess up: Do you wear it to bed every night?
[Laughs] Letterman was the last time I wore it. It's been in a garment bag in my closet. I haven't looked at it, I haven't seen it. It got shipped from Orlando back to Scottsdale.

In a green garment bag, we hope. You decided to move from Scottsdale to Isleworth, in Orlando. You were followed while driving home after a charity event last year. Did that incident make you want to live in a gated community?
I've always lived in a gated community, but it hit home more when that incident happened, especially having a child now. It's just more security. We've seen things in the news -- our world is crazy -- and it's nice to have that peace of mind when we take walks or go outside.

Do you want to add to your family?
We'd like to add a baby girl. We're looking to do that in the next year and a half, after we get used to being parents with Caleb. We'd go through Chicks in Crisis again [an organization that facilitates adoptions].

A couple of years back you bought the General Lee, the car featured on The Dukes of Hazzard, which has a Confederate Flag on the roof. This created a minor controversy. Where's the car now?
It's in Phoenix, getting worked on. It wasn't street-legal [when we bought it]. There were no seat belts, the gauges weren't working, there was no back seat -- there were a lot of things that weren't working. We're getting a 1969 Charger all over again, in mint condition.

Who was your favorite character on that show?
Cooter. It sounded hillbilly, it sounded country -- my name's Bubba, so I go with the crazy names, I guess. And we had a dog named Rosco P. Coltrane, after the sheriff. That show meant a lot to our family -- me and my dad, we watched it all the time together. I also liked the old Knight Rider, The A-Team -- those were the shows me and my dad watched. I have all of those shows on my computer and all the DVDs at my house.

Now that you're a major winner, what are your golf goals? Do you worry about being a one-major wonder?
No, I still have goals. I would love to see myself as No. 1 in the world. Just because I'm a dad and a husband, it doesn't take away my drive. I still want to play in all those team events. I want to win a Ryder Cup -- we've lost both Ryder Cups I've played in. I said four years ago that if I could get to 10 wins that would be a great career, and right now I have four wins, with one major.

What will it take for you to reach No. 1?
I have to get more consistent. When Tiger was in his heyday, he was top-tennin' every week. McIlroy last year was top-five, top-10 every week.

You were very consistent last year, with 16 top-25 finishes in 19 starts.
Yeah, but I missed the cut three times. So when you add that in, it's really not that consistent. I want to make those cuts and make my top 25s into top 20s and top 15s. There are lots of things that went better in 2012. It was my best year on Tour for money, my stroke average went down, but you can still improve.

When was the last time you cried like you cried when you won the Masters?
Not in a while, but I'll cry when Angie goes out and it's just me staying with my son. I'll cry at how blessed we are, that we can provide for him and hopefully give him a good home, that I was able to win a major and can play golf for a living. There are many cool things about my wife. One is that she was a professional athlete [she played in the WNBA], so she understands the dedication, drive, energy level, focus, practice and travel schedule that it takes.

How's your hoops game?
I can shoot, but I can't dribble. I've always been slow. Basketball -- that's my favorite sport. I'm a true Clippers fan. I've basically met the whole team. I would give away all my trophies to play in the NBA. I love that atmosphere, five guys shooting hoops. I guess I like it more because I can't do it.

Golf, you can do. How do you rank the majors in importance?
The Masters is first, then the U.S. Open, then the British, then the PGA -- like on the schedule. Playing the Masters' Par-3 Contest is such a thrill, especially now that my son will get to caddie in it and walk and goof around with me. That's going to be the thrill of a lifetime. Hopefully he's walking by April.

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