Christian.” That’s the first answer at the top of the “Who Is Bubba Watson?” page on two-time Masters Tournament Champion Bubba Watson’s website. Under it reads, “Loves Jesus and loves sharing his faith.”
If you follow golf, you probably already know this. You probably also know he has no problem with the color pink and his preferred method of transportation on the golf course isn’t a traditional golf cart but a hovercraft. But did you know that his story also includes deep insecurities, stressful phobias and infertility?
Bubba Watson currently sits at number four in the Official World Golf Ranking. But the combination of his raw talent, temperament and the struggles of his own story make him a controversial figure in the game of golf.
Bubba Watson’s Story
Bubba says he deals with mental issues mostly revolving around fears—fear of heights, falling buildings, crowds and the dark are Bubba’s biggest fears. He shares this part of his story with 60 Minutes’ Sharyn Alfonsi.
“In between holes is really scary to me, because there’s so many people that close to you,” said Bubba.
Some of his fear and behavior around people was learned from his father Gerry, who Bubba was named after. In his interview with 60 Minutes, Bubba says he learned to be a watcher of people from his dad, who would sit with his back to the wall, keeping people in front of him.
“He didn’t want people behind him because he wanted to always watch,” said Bubba, “just because of, I’m guessing, because of the stuff he’s been through in his life.”
Bubba said his dad never talked about what he had been through in his life. His dad was an Army combat veteran—a green beret in the Vietnam War. Bubba said he was a hard worker and dedicated to his family. Bubba’s eyes were wet as he spoke of his dad, who died of cancer four months after Bubba won his first PGA Tournament in 2010.
Bubba also has a heightened sense of awareness, seeing and hearing small, subtle things around him all the time, which can be frustrating at times. Ted Scott, Bubba Watson’s caddie, said Bubba notices everything and even calls Bubba “a fun mess.”
Though he has been on the receiving end of Bubba’s frustrations on the fairways, Ted Scott is one of Bubba’s biggest supporters. Ted says creativity is Bubba’s secret weapon. Bubba, a lefty, has never had a golf lesson, and he doesn’t play with normal strategies—just by his self-taught touch. Scott said he’s even been out with Bubba to play nine holes with just one club.
“I think the greatest asset he has is that he doesn’t reign in like there’s one way to do it…he looks for all kinds of ways, and that’s what keeps him entertained and fun, and that’s kind of what makes him a genius. He sees things in a way —almost like a great artist—that other people just don’t see,” Ted told 60 Minutes.
Bubba and Angie Watson’s Adoption Story
Infertility was also a part of Bubba and Angie Watson’s story due to a raft of health issues Angie experienced, including a life-threatening enlarged pituitary gland. But the couple remained unshaken even after an adoption fell through at the last minute.
When their first adoption finally did happen, Bubba said it put life in perspective for him—and he hardly even cared about the 2012 Masters Tournament. Yes, the one he won (the first time).
“I’m gonna play this golf tournament because I have to. I’m going home,” Bubba told 60 Minutes. “I was happy to be a dad, life is good, and I think it just freed me up…everything clicked. When I hit a bad shot, I was like ‘Whatever,’ and it just worked.”
Angie Watson agreed the Masters Tournament Green Jacket paled in comparison to the excitement of becoming parents.
“There’s more emotion thinking about the little trophy that we had sleeping beside my bed than the green jacket that he brought home.”
In 2014, Bubba and Angie Watson adopted a little girl, Dakota.
Bubba Watson’s Faith And Philanthropy
Bubba Watson’s life as a professional golfer has afforded him many opportunities to partner and work with charities. On his website, he lists his partners, one of which is The City Church, based in Seattle, Washington. On his website, Bubba explains his heart for charity:
“My hope in giving back is that others would be inspired to do the same, but in their own way and for causes that they care for deeply. Together we can all make a difference in the lives of others.”
But above all else, Bubba Watson wants to show the Light of the Gospel. His first understanding of the Gospel was when he was 19, and a neighbor invited Bubba to his first church service. He deepened his faith while in college at the University of Georgia, and now he’s unashamed to be a Christian in the professional golf scene. He’s even been part of the PGA Tour‘s weekly Bible study during tournament weeks and has connected with several other professional golfers who share the faith.
“[I’m] Getting more in the Word and realizing that golf is just an avenue for Jesus to use me to reach as many people as I can,” Bubba told BillyGraham.org.
On the green or off.