July 01, 2011
There are moments when ignorance really is bliss, like the first time Boo Weekley made it over to the British Open and was a quote machine, famously saying, "It's been rough on the food. Ain't no sweet tea, and ain't no fried chicken."
There are others when not doing your homework, literally, can be insulting. That's the battle Bubba Watson is facing at the Alstom Open de France, his first ever regular Race to Dubai event on the European Tour. Watson, the 12th ranked player in the world, has rubbed the French locals the wrong with with some of his quotes about landmarks and his actions, according to Bernie McGuire.
"I think this might be the only time I play in Europe. I miss my home," Watson said.
"I love France. France is a nice place. Paris is a beautiful city. I went to the Eiffel Tower, to the Louvre, somthing like that, and the arch way, and saw the castle that we are staying next to (Versailles Palace)."
Watson described the Eiffel Tower as 'that big tower' and the Arc de Triomphe as 'this arch I drove round in a circle' and in riding past the Louvre on his motorised push bike, Watson described it as 'a building starting with L'.
There are times when not having a good grasp of culture is cute and sometimes when it is downright insulting, and it seems this would be more of the latter. Calling one of the most famous museums in the world "the building starting with L"? Not knowing what the Arc de Triomphe is?!? These are History 101 type of things you find out about when you're in 7th grade and when you're heading to one of the most famous, and beautiful, cities in the world (and earning six figures to do so), you should at least study up on four or five of their most important landmarks.
What next, calling Notre Dame "that place that them Fighting Irish guys play at"?
Along with his lack of general knowledge, Bubba hasn't been exactly kind to the press and even fellow competitors. McGuire's report says that Watson wouldn't take a head shot from a reporter, telling her, "See my manager," and declined a request by a fellow competitor from Europe to ride with Watson to the golf course, earning a lot of raised eyebrows from the regulars on that tour. On top of all that, Watson has complained about the crowds, saying, "It's not a normal tournament ... there's no security."
I understand being a homebody, and not loving the grinds of travel, especially at an event like this that isn't exactly the European Tour's marquee event, but burning bridges sure isn't going to help you in the future when you might actually need something from someone across the pond.
If all these reports are true, I hope Bubba comes out and apologizes to the French people and puts that great smile on his face the rest of the week, because that's what superstars do. I know he might not want to be one of the faces of golf, but he is, and with that comes some adult responsibility.