By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Bubba Watson has yet to change the first diaper.
"I got out of there before that," he said.
Even with that dirty business looming, though, and those sleepless nights on the horizon, it was difficult for Watson to leave his wife and their baby son Caleb behind and head to Georgia to play in the 76th Masters this week.
Watson and his wife Angie adopted the one-month-old boy on the Monday after the Arnold Palmer Invitational, making the announcement on Twitter. He was enjoying getting acquainted with the baby so much that Watson actually thought about delaying his arrival at Augusta National until Wednesday.
"But my wife said no, you need to come in here and practice like normal and don't worry about it," said Watson, whose custom is to arrive on Saturday and play Augusta National for the first time on Sunday. "She was the one that was pushing me to get here early like I normally do. I wanted to stay home for sure."
Looks like the new daddy made the right choice. Watson shot his second straight sub-par round on Friday and is one stroke off the lead held jointly by Jason Dufner and Fred Couples.
"It feels great," said Watson, who is in a five-way tie at 4 under. "Obviously this is what we strive to do. Every golf tournament we try to have a chance on the weekend. ... At the beginning of the week if somebody had said this is where I would be with two days, I would take that and wouldn't worry about that."
Watson gutted out a 71 in the second round on a gusty day that dawned surprisingly cold for mid-April. He said it was a guessing game with the swirling winds, and he lost two shots to par on the front nine before shooting a 33 on the homeward nine.
"Any time you can shoot under par at a major golf event, especially the Masters here, it's a good day," Watson said. "Sometimes I squeaked it in at 1 under. Thought I was hitting the ball pretty good, but I shot 2 over on the front nine, and then made couple of easy birdies on the par 5s on the back nine."
Watson actually had a chance for some crystal at the 13th hole where a pin-point 6-iron left him a 6-footer for eagle. "I'm not very good at putting, so I missed it," he said in his self-deprecating style. :I made an easy birdie, though. I made sure I made birdie."
While Angie and Caleb are at home, Watson, who played golf at nearby Georgia and went back to get his degree in consumer economics, has plenty of support in the gallery. Once off the course, he has contented himself with daily phone calls home and the occasional photo Angie sends.
"I know everything he's done, everything he's doing," Watson said.
Should he be able to pick up his first major, Watson will have quite a tale to tell Caleb when he gets older. Watson has finished 18th or better in his seven starts this year, including second and fourth in his last two so he's obviously playing well.
Watson feels comfortable at Augusta National, too. The big-hitting lefty always felt this was his kind of golf course, even though a tie for 20th is Watson's best in three previous starts.
"When I was in high school and stuff and started really watching golf and understanding the game of golf, I knew that this place was going to be good for me because of the way I shape the ball," Watson said. "So it sets up good for me to hit cuts, slices around the doglegs. It sets up well for me. There's about five holes that are very difficult. The other ones really set up well for me."
His goal for the weekend is to build on these two subpar rounds "and hopefully the other guys don't shoot more under par," he said. But if he doesn't win his first major, Watson won't be too terribly disappointed given his new perspective on life.
"Here, this is just a golf tournament," Watson said. "Win, lose or draw, it doesn't matter the whole scheme of things. It would be nice to be a Green Jacket, but if I don't win it no big deal.
"My son is at home, our new son is at home. Obviously that is more important to me than trying to make a putt to win a golf tournament."
- Bubba Watson
- Augusta National