November 29, 2016: At 38, Bubba Watson is quickly evolving into a statesman. In many ways he is a man in a hurry to grow into the next phase of his life. The two times Masters Champion seems to have been helped along in his evolution by his role on the USA Ryder Cup team in Chaska this past season. The discussion was so much more about his perspectives on life rather than about his efforts this week to defend the Hero World Challenge in Albany.
In a press conference that felt more like a warm hearted family conversation, Bubba Watson spoke with great clarity and a warmth that is rare in an average interaction of this nature.
In a free wheeling conversation aided by a series of questions around his experiences on and off the course and his expectations for Tiger Woods this week.
“I think as we grow, we grow as people, we grow as family. Now seeing his kids, I think Tiger has softened as we’ve all seen it, right?” asked Bubba, when asked about the influence of Tiger Woods. “And the way he’s interacted in the team room, what he said, how he put his arm around certain people and trying to inspire them.
“His own foundation is probably changing him, making him realize that there’s more than just golf or being the greatest golfer of all time,” added Bubba Watson. “So he’s inspired all of us, he’s touched all of us in different ways. No matter how old or how young you are, he’s pressed forward. We just want him out here being healthy because we can learn from him on and off the course like I said.”
Bubba Watson also spoke at length about the great deal it meant for him to work for the Ryder Cup team.
“I was helping the whole team and not just one person that I was partnered with. I know now the reason why I’m no good in individual Sunday matches, Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup, is because I’m so worried about my partners, my other team, that I don’t ever focus on what I should be focusing on. So I’ve let the team down that way, said a candid and reflective Bubba Watson.
“So I’ve learned that about myself when it comes to golf, but also it was so much more enjoyable for me to help the vice captains, the captain, the wives and the players,” continued Bubba. “It meant more to me to do that than it did to ever play on the team. It was an honor and a privilege.”
It was insightful listening to Bubba, who used the phrase “who cares about golf” more than once during the interaction. Needless to say, he does care about the game. In saying so, Bubba Watson was merely underlining the need for a greater perspective on life beyond golf.