AUGUSTA, Georgia, April 9 (Reuters) - Bubba Watson welled with emotions after winning the 2012 Masters and one year later he cried again when asked if he did anything special with the prized green jacket he took away from Augusta National.
Choking up and taking a couple of minutes to compose himself at his Masters news conference on Tuesday, Watson spoke about the moment an Augusta National member said he could keep the famed winner’s jacket for a year.
“I told him that I was going to go home and wrap Caleb up in it,” he said about the baby boy he and his wife had adopted a week before last year’s Masters.
“That’s the only thing I did with it. Out of respect, out of honor,” he added before having to take another long pause.
Emotions run high just under the surface of the fun-loving, daring golfer, who plays his shot-shaping game with a singular imagination.
“Out of respect and honor for Augusta National, as one of greatest clubs we have, as one of greatest tournaments, out of respect for them, I didn’t do any of my funny antics that I normally would do,” said Watson.
“Only thing I did was wrap Caleb up in it,” the 34-year-old added, wiping away tears.
The sensitive, sentimental Watson stands in contrast to an ebullient, outgoing alter-ego, who roars around in vintage cars and glides along in his one-of-a kind hovercraft golf cart, and makes rap videos dressed in overalls as one of the Golf Boys with some of his fellow young pros.
Watson won his maiden major at Augusta in fitting fashion, with a miraculous recovery shot from out of the pine straw inside the tree line on the right that enabled him to win his playoff against Louis Oosthuizen by making a par on No. 10.
The native of Bagdad, Florida, took his wife, Angie, to the magical spot right of the 10th fairway upon their return.
“As defending champ, I got to bring a guest so my wife played eighteen holes with me on Sunday. What a dream, what an honor,” said Watson.
Some golfers are making a point of checking out the position from which Watson dramatically hooked a 160-yard shot that ran up onto the 10th green and settled just 10 feet from the cup.
“Sunday when me and my wife were playing, we were coming down off of eighteenth tee, there was a group of guys over there (10th). Couldn’t see who it was, and I yelled at them and I said, ‘No, that’s not the spot, it’s a little over,'” related Watson.
“Just joking with them, and they saw it was me. And come to find out it was Billy Casper and his son,” Watson said about the 81-year-old Masters champion of 1970. “Kind of funny.”
Watson tied for fourth in the season-opening Tournament of Champions but has not made much noise since, but does not discount his chances to join Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods as players to win back-to-back Masters.
“I can see that I can compete at a high level at certain moments. You know, I‘m not as consistent as some of the guys, I‘m not up there every year, but any moment I have a chance to win,” said Watson, who has won four PGA Tour events.
”Like I did last year, not putting pressure on myself, enjoying the moment and just having fun.
“As a competitor, as a believer in my game, I can see pulling it off. It wouldn’t shock me. I would still cry, but it wouldn’t shock me.” (Editing by Frank Pingue)