DUBLIN, Ohio – Winning a major and having children are two life-altering moments in a golfer’s life. For Bubba Watson, the two events happened at about the same time.
With the exception of a T18 in New Orleans, Watson has been M.I.A. since Augusta as he took time off to get his head wrapped around the two new titles added to his name -- 2012 Masters champion and father.
“It’s just things that you never thought of,” a scruffy and bleary-eyed Waston said Tuesday at Muirfield Village. “Everybody wants something from you. ‘Can you help this, can you help that.’ You’ve got to say no. It’s not that you’re being mean. You’ve got to have time for yourself, with your wife, with your child.”
That’s where the majority of Watson’s time has been spent recently. Watson and his wife, Angie, adopted a baby boy, Caleb, in late March. It was a long and difficult process, and they never knew if the day would come, but they found out they were going to be parents the week of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Two weeks later at Augusta National, Watson hit a miraculous shot from the pine straw to defeat Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff and secure his first major championship. And just like that, Bubba was an international star.
“You dream of winning a major championship, but then actually pulling it off, you don't know how to deal with it,” Watson said. “I've never dreamed that far. That's what I said, because you don't, you don't think about what comes with it. People actually know your name now, so it's a little different.”
After his whirlwind media tour, which included trading one-liners with David Letterman, Watson retreated home to get the hang of being a dad, which he admitted Tuesday hasn’t been an easy process.
“I've probably really put in about three days of good, hard practice over the last month,” Watson said. “It's a different tired than we're used to, having a child. A lot of different things going on. My mind works differently, as we know throughout the years, so for me my mind is racing any time you hear noise, any time you hear something. You know, it's just different.”
Despite all of the on- and off-course distractions, Watson said he’s energized to get back out on the PGA Tour. The Memorial will be Watson’s last event before the U.S. Open, and he’s doing his best this week to knock the rust off before Olympic Club.
“I'm going to be down, I'm going to be up, I'm going to be happy, I'm going to be sad,” Watson said. “You're going to feel the nerves for the first time in basically two months, even though I played that one tournament. You're going to feel nerves that you haven't felt over a three-footer. Right now a three-footer is easy back at home. So hopefully I can get over that pretty quick and hit some quality shots.”
Before he left the media center, Watson revealed there is yet another title that can be added to his name – concert host. Tuesday night in Columbus, Watson is hosting “Bubba's Bash,” a concert featuring several Christian musical acts. The Watsons hope to raise $58,000 to build a medical clinic in Kenya.
“I wanted to do something different,” Watson said. “I love listening to Christian rap, so I brought in about six rappers and some other guys and a young lady, and we're going to have fun tonight. Waffle House is going to provide us with some food, and hopefully we're going to keep it going.”
Since the Watsons are in the process of making a permanent home in Orlando, Bubba said he hopes to have the concert every year during Bay Hill week. But, just like everything else in his life right now, Watson is trying to take it slow.
“We’re trying to get through the first time and go from there.”