NEW ORLEANS, LA - MAY 1: Bubba Watson hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the final round of the Zurich Classic at the TPC Louisiana on May 1, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Bubba Watson's a whiz at making wicked hook shots from pine straw under pressure. But changing diapers? Maybe not so much.
It’s been a crazy two-plus weeks since Bubba Watson’s wild shot from the pine straw at Augusta National set up his 2012 Masters win, and the proud papa would like nothing better than to be home helping wife Angie change their new baby’s diapers.
In fact, Watson, who noted during his 2012 title run at Augusta National that he had yet to change son Caleb’s swaddle, has become an old hand at diaper duty (he’s changed five so far -- all of the “pee-pee” variety, he said, sharing just a wee bit TMI) and may be in the market for a new product endorsement.
“Maybe I need a diaper sponsor,” Watson said. “It seems like you go through a lot of them.”
A PGA golfer shilling for Sweet Cheeks or Changing Times Diaper Company would surely be a tour first, but then, Watson’s not your everyday professional golfer. Indeed, though his post-green jacket whirlwind media junket/victory tour has kept him on the road for all but about a week since April 8, Watson said he owed it to the fans in New Orleans to try and defend his Zurich Classic title this week.
“We've had [Caleb] for a month, and I've only got to see him eight or nine days, so it's not enough, not a lot,” Watson told reporters Tuesday, ahead of this week’s PGA Tour stop at TPC Louisiana. “I have not had enough time with my family, by myself, or anything, but I felt obligated to my fans, to New Orleans, the city, that I should be here. ... I'm here because I just felt like it was the right thing to do.”
Plain, unvarnished talk like that from the self-described “goofy and messed up” brain of the four-time tour winner who wears his emotions on his sleeve is why avid and casual golf fans alike have taken to “just Bubba from Bagdad" -- a guy who plays golf for the love of the game and to do good by doing well.
“It resonates with everybody because I'm from a small town, I played public golf courses growing up, and I think that everybody can see that,” he said. “Everybody can see that my swing is homegrown. That means everybody has a chance to do it. ...That's just me and I am passionate about the game because I love it and now it's helping me raise charity dollars for good causes.”
Watson said his new-found fame as Masters champ will help him do even more for philanthropic causes, such as his Bubba & Friends Drive to a Million, which raised some $20,000 through sales of replicas of his white and pink Masters outfit through Travis Mathew Apparel. The clothier, with whom Watson has partnered for some time, not only donated another $50,000 to his charity, but it turns out the company is the mystery “someone” who sent Caleb the mini Masters green jacket Bubba tweeted about earlier this week.
With the help of Ping and his pink G20 driver, Watson said he hoped to raise some $350,000 for a variety of charities. And the inaugural “Bubba’s Bash,” a May 29 event featuring 10 musical artists that will coincide with the May 31-June 3 Memorial Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, will raise money to build the “Bubba and Angie Watson Medical Center” in Livayo, Kenya.
“That stuff is more important to me,” Watson said of his fundraising efforts, “but right now, with this platform that I have of winning the Masters, it's going to give me a better chance to raise good dollars for cancer, for the center in Africa and different things like that.”
As for that miraculous hook shot from the trees on the second playoff hole on Masters Sunday? Heck, that was nothing more than a play he’d practiced a thousand times as a kid in his backyard ringed with “big, tall, 100-year-old trees.
“I had plastic golf balls, so I just learned to hit in the trees, throughout the trees, over the trees, under the trees,” he said. “So when it comes to the creativity on the golf course, that's just who I am. That's just what I've done. So that doesn’t scare me.”
Which is not to say that Watson was completely unimpressed with the outcome of the shot, which he expected to land on the front of the green. When he realized that it "just rolled up" to some 15 feet from the pin, Watson allowed as how he had pulled off something mighty spectacular.
“Whew, I’m pretty good,’” Watson recalled telling his long-time caddie, Ted Scott. “It's something you want to try to pull off, and somehow I did.”
About that potential diaper gig for Bubba? Wonder if any would-be sponsors make baby bunting in Augusta Green?