Defending Masters champion Watson doesn’t want to be a one-Major wonder
Adopting his son Caleb helped him switch off after his victory at Augusta last year
Defending champion Bubba Watson with his caddie Ted Scott during a practice round for this weekend’s Masters.
As he prepares to defend his Masters title this week, Bubba Watson has revealed his determination not to be a one-Major wonder. Watson claimed his first Major championship at Augusta National 12 months ago, beating South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen on the second hole of a play-off thanks to a brilliant escape from the trees.
But the big-hitting left-hander from Bagdad, Florida, does not want that triumph to be a flash in the pan and was quick to seek out advice from fellow players in a similar situation.
New Zealand’s Michael Campbell has attributed his slump in form to not setting new goals for himself after winning the 2005 US Open, but asked if he had readjusted his sights, Watson said: “Well, it’s funny you ask me that question, because as soon as I won I sought out some players that have won recently.
“I sought out Graeme McDowell, (Rory) McIlroy, asked Tiger (Woods), asked some big-name players that have won (like) Charl Schwartzel. I asked, how do you deal with it, because the first three months to the first six months, your sponsors, media, you get more attention.
“You’ve got more fans and so you get away from the game of golf. Golf is the last thing on anybody’s mind but you still have to keep executing.
‘Adopted our son’
“In Campbell’s situation . . . that’s what I tried to not do. I tried to get out of that situation fast, and it helped me too that I had my child; we had adopted our son Caleb so I spent a few months with him. I missed a couple of tournaments that I normally play in and I got to relax, reset, refocus.
“I missed my first two cuts after my long layoff, but then I finished second again right after that.”
One of those missed cuts came in the US Open, but Watson proved he had the appetite for more Major success by finishing 23rd in The Open and 11th in the US PGA Championship later that year.
“You have to do that because you don’t want to be known for the one tournament,” the 34-year-old added. “You want to go out there and compete. I want to play for many more years and so I got lucky because we adopted our child at the same time, so I got to focus on family,
“I got to focus on other things other than golf, and then it helped me reset. Then I was itching to go back out there and play and compete.”
Asked who gave him the best piece of advice, Watson – who lost a play-off for the 2010 US PGA Championship to Germany’s Martin Kaymer – added: “You figure it out on your own, but you just try to get hints into other situations.
“My manager, Jens Beck, has been in this business for a while and I would say he gave me the best advice.
“His advice was golf (comes) first. So we’ve cancelled a lot of media requests, we’ve cancelled a lot of things to make golf first.
“I was Bubba Watson the golfer first before I won, so we have to keep it simple and remember that golf (comes) first.
“So we told our sponsors, ‘Look, I know you want to do things and do this, but you don’t like Bubba if Bubba isn’t playing good, so golf is first.”
So far this season Watson’s golf has been good if not brilliant, with one missed cut in five strokeplay events and one top-five finish in January, although he did close with a 67 in his last appearance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.