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Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson

Golf This Week: Bubba back at work Add to ...

Masters champion Bubba Watson returned home from a media tour in New York two weeks ago and hung his green jacket in the closet.

He hasn't seen it since.

Life has been moving at a faster pace than Watson imagined since he hooked that sand wedge off the pine straw, around the trees and onto the 10th green at Augusta National to win a sudden-death playoff over Louis Oosthuizen and capture his first major.

He and his wife, Angie, adopted a month-old boy named Caleb just two weeks before the Masters. His first act as Masters champion was to cradle the boy the next morning and feed him from the bottle, before leaving the next day for his media tour.

As for changing diapers? That's coming along at a slightly slower pace.

''Not that I have a count, but it's only five I've changed,'' Watson said. ''And they've been easy to change.''

So much has changed in one month. A new father. A major champion. And two weeks after trying to let it all soak in, it's time for Watson to get back to work. He is defending his title this week in New Orleans at the Zurich Classic.

If not for the responsibility he feels to defend, Watson would much rather be home.

''We figured out we've had him for a month, and I've been home, I think at the most, nine days, maybe eight days,'' Watson said. ''So it's not enough, not a lot. So it's hard leaving him. It was hard leaving today, but that's the change. That's the excitement of waking up every morning, no matter how tired you are, no matter how red your eyes are, just seeing him pretty much do nothing - just lay there.''

The win at Augusta isn't a distant memory by any stretch.

His clothing company made up a tiny green jacket for his son, which hangs in the closet next to the real one. There have been diagrams that Watson's caddie posted on Twitter illustrating the 40-yard hook of a shot from trees right of the 10th fairway on the second extra hole, which somehow not only landed on the green, but checked up and settled 15 feet away for a par.

It will live in Masters' lore, just like so many other shots before it - the 6-iron that Phil Mickelson hit between a pair of Georgia pines on the 13th hole in 2010, Tiger Woods' chip-in that made a U-turn on the 16th green and paused at the lip of the cup before falling for birdie in 2005.

Watson might have been the last guy to realize how close his shot was to the flag.

''I was expecting front of the green, maybe center of the green at best, because you never expect it to be that close,'' he said. ''But it came off and I couldn't see it. I ran to the fairway and I heard them roar, and I said, 'Where is it?' ... So I saw it, and I go, 'Whew, I'm pretty good.' That's how it all went down.

''Those shots ... I try to pull off the amazing shot, just like we've seen Mickelson pull off shots, Tiger pull off shots, everybody that's won you've seen pull off shots like that,'' he said. ''It's something you want to try to pull off, and somehow I did.''

His win was popular for several reasons, not the least of which was a guy named Bubba whose approach to golf is similar to so many regular folk. His late father taught him how to grip a golf club and the fundamentals of the swing, and Watson took it from there. He has never had a teacher, preferring to figure it out by himself. He was groomed on public courses and would much rather play golf than beat balls on the practice range or stare into a video to figure out his swing.

''I'm just Bubba from Bagdad, Florida,'' Watson said. ''Small town, play golf because I love the game of golf. I play golf because it's fun. ... Everybody can see that my swing is homegrown. That means everybody has a chance to do it. Hard work, dedication, practice and the drive to do it, and not worry about what other people say.''

Before thinking about the next majors, though, Watson said he is more geared toward charity.

He started this year with ''Bubba & Friends Drive to a Million,'' in which he is trying to raise $1 million. He wore white all week at the Masters in another campaign that raised some $70,000. Ping is selling a limited edition of his pink driver, which could bring in $450,000. He has organized a ''Bubba Bash'' in Columbus, Ohio, to raise money for the Bubba and Angie Watson Medical Center in Africa.

''That stuff is more important to me, 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,'' Watson said.



THIS WEEK IN GOLF

PGA TOUR: ZURICH CLASSIC

COURSE: TPC Louisiana (7,425 yards, par 72).

TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday, 3-6 p.m., 8:30-11:30 p.m.; Friday, 12:30-3:30 a.m., 3-6 p.m., 8:30-11:30 p.m.; Saturday, 12:30-3:30 a.m., 1-2:30 p.m., 8:30-11:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m., 8:30-11:30 p.m.) and CBS (Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m.).

OH CANADA: David Byrne, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn, Stephen Ames (Matt McQuillan, alternate)

NOTES: Masters champion Bubba Watson is back to defend the title he won in 2011, making his first start since winning at Augusta. ...David Byrne is cashing in his sponsors exemption for winning the Golf Channel's Big Break competition last year. ...Ben Curtis, fresh off his win last weekend, is in the field along with second-ranked Luke Donald, No. 7 Steve Stricker and No. 10 Justin Rose as well as major champions Graeme McDowell, Keegan Bradley and Ernie Els.

---

LPGA TOUR: MOBILE BAY LPGA CLASSIC

COURSE: Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Magnolia Grove, The Crossings (6,521 yards, par 72).

TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 12:30-2:30 p.m.; Saturday, 3-6 p.m.; Sunday, midnight-3 a.m., 3-6 p.m.; Sunday, 12:30-3 a.m.).

OH CANADA: Lorie Kane, Maude-Aimee Leblanc, Rebecca Lee-Bentham, Samantha Richdale, Alena Sharp, Jessica Shepley, Stephanie Sherlock (Kirby Dreher, alternate)

NOTES: Last week's winner Ai Miyazato and top-ranked Yani Tseng are skipping the tournament. Tseng has won three of the first seven events this year. ... Lexi Thompson was on the verge of winning her first tournament last year at this event before a final round collapse, shooting 78 to tie for 19th. ... Se Ri Pak won the 2010 tournament for the last of her 25 LPGA Tour titles.

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EUROPEAN TOUR/ASIAN TOUR: BALLANTINE'S CHAMPIONSHIP

COURSE: Blackstone Golf Club (7,237 yards, par 72).

TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.).

OH CANADA: No Canadians entered in this event

NOTES: Adam Scott, PGA rookie Sang-Moon Bae, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and K.T. Kim are among the top 50 ranked players in the world who are entered in the event alongwith British Open champion Darren Clarke, Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez and South Korean star Y.E. Yang. ...Lee Westwood, the defending champion, is skipping the tournament after winning last week in Indonesia.

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NATIONWIDE TOUR: SOUTH GEORGIA CLASSIC

COURSE: Kinderlou Forest Golf Club (7,781 yards, par 72).

TELEVISION: None.

OH CANADA: Stuart Anderson, Bryan DeCorso, Brad Fritsch, Adam Hadwin, Matt Hill, Richard Scott, Ryan Yip (Chris Baryla-alternate)

NOTES: Matt Hill of Bright's Grove, Ont., will make his second career Nationwide start after Monday qualifying for this event. He'll hope to follow in the footsteps of Ted Potter Jr., who Monday qualified a year ago and went on to defeat Mattew Goggin by three strokes in a tournament record 16-under par.

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SYMETRA TOUR: Riviera Nayarit Classic

COURSE: El Tigre Golf and Country Club, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

OH CANADA: Izzy Beisiegel, Kirby Dreher, Sara Maude Juneau, Sue Kim, Melissa Mabanta, Lisa Meldrum, Danielle Mills, Ashley Sholer

---

NGA TOUR: Savannah Lakes Village Classic

COURSE: Savannah Lakes Village and Golf Club, Monticello Course, McCormick, S.C.,

OH CANADA: Yohann Benson, Marc-Etienne Bussieres, Mark Hoffman, Matt Hoffman, Louis-Alexandre Pitre, Eric Ross,

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GATEWAY PRO TOUR: Tournament No. 12 (Apr. 25-27)

COURSE: Encanterra Country Club, Arizona

OH CANADA: Jerry Christiansen (a), Kent Eger, Tyler Mancini, Dallas Mengel, Darren Wallace,

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GREAT LAKES TOUR: Event No. 1 (Apr. 24)

COURSE: Grey Silo Golf Club, Waterloo, Ontario

OH CANADA: Derek Gillespie (winner)

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