Bubba Watson on his son coming to PNC: ‘He just wanted to miss school’

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Tim Schmitt
·4 min read
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While the entire golf world has been in a tizzy about Charlie Woods’ Dad-like swing this week, Bubba Watson’s son was racing around the PNC Championship shooting friends and family members with a Nerf gun.

Baby steps, Watson insists.

Although the two-time major winner is excited to have his 8-year-old son Caleb on hand, he knows the little guy currently has golf on the backburner.

Watson will play this week with his father-in-law, Wayne, but only signed on after Caleb discussed the possibility of playing in a local father-son event.

Bubba, as he’s wont to do, went bigger.

“I’ve heard about this tournament and thought about this tournament but didn’t know the criteria to get into it. My dad passed away in 2010 and I never thought about it again until this year (when Caleb brought it up),” Watson said. “It was the same day I heard that Tiger and Charlie were playing in it. I reached out as quick as I could to see if there was any way my father-in-law could play, thinking about the future and wanting him to see us play.

“It’s not about if you win or lose; it’s just about having fun. That’s what I wanted him to do. I want him to have fun in the game. For me, coming to this tournament is a dream come true. He just wanted to miss school, but I wanted him to see how much the game means to some people and the impact it’s had.”

The field at PNC is chock-full of accomplished players — the 20 golfers on hand this week have combined for 67 major titles. So even though it’s primarily a fun event, it’s also good for Bubba to see how he stacks up against those who’ve been the best in the world. He insists he’s been working with his putter, a bugaboo that continues to hold him back at times.

Through the handful of events that opened the 2020-21 season, Watson took his traditional place among the top 10 in Strokes Gaines: Off The Tee. Yet he continues to be held back by his struggles on the greens — Watson is 241st in Strokes Gained: Putting.

PNC: The field, tee times, TV times, format | Scores

Still, he thinks there’s plenty of great golf in his future, and he hopes it culminates in another chance to represent his country next September.

“I want to make the Ryder Cup team. I want to compete. I’m trying to do different things in my life to get me where I can compete at a high level still. I think we’re on the right track,” he said. “I think I’m a few majors, five or six wins away from the Hall of Fame, so I want to push myself. I feel like I still have a lot of good golf in me. I’m trending in the right direction.”

Watson hopes to make noise on the PGA Tour when it returns in January, but in case that doesn’t pan out, he’s already got a backup plan.

The 42-year-old has a decent stretch until he’s eligible to play on the PGA Tour Champions, but he figured another 40-something dad might help get organizers to change their rules.

“I’ve been telling Tiger (Woods) all year that he needs to start voting for 45 for the Champions Tour. I said, ‘Look man, I’m getting close to 45 and you’re really close. If you vote for 45 they’ll change it for you.’ I told him he can ride in the cart,” Watson joked. “I was trying to sweet talk him the whole time. I told him Phil Mickelson is 1 up on him, now 2 up. You’ve never won a Champions Tour event. You need to hurry up and get there.”

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