Bubba Watson apologizes, admits PGA long-drive boycott was 'selfish' mistake

Emily Kay
SB Nation

Bubba Watson says his behavior at the PGA Championship was ‘selfish,’ ‘childish’ and ‘my fault.’ So what else is new with the fidgety long-ball hitter from Bagdad?

Bubba Watson, who had what one reporter at The Barclays generously termed an "adventurous" PGA Championship, conceded Tuesday that his actions at Valhalla — from stubbornly and head-scratchingly refusing to participate in the long-drive competition to acting as if he were the only player who’s ever had to play golf in the rain — was, well, just plain "selfish."

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Watson being Watson, though, contended "you learn from being selfish instead of looking at the bigger picture in life," pretty much guaranteeing that the buffoonery golf fans have come to expect from Bubba from Bagdad was hardly a thing of the past.

"Obviously I've made some mistakes and I'm going to make more mistakes as the years go on and hopefully if that's my worst mistake then I'm doing all right," Watson, who never seems particularly comfortable in his own skin, said ahead of the first leg of the four-game FedExCup playoff series. "You've got to learn from it. So the guys that wrote articles and my friends that called me out, friends that sent me different quotes, obviously I look up to them and say ‘thank you,’ because that's how I'm going to get better.

"That's how I'm going to get better as a man, better as a husband, better as a dad and last but not least, better as a golfer," said Watson, who conceded that "the first mistake" was not competing in the long-drive contest. "Yeah, obviously it was a tough situation, but obviously hopefully I can learn from it and move on."

Fingers crossed that Watson means it this time because it’s not like we haven't heard mea culpas from the talented but petulant six-time PGA Tour pro winner in the past.

There were the legendary temper tantrums earlier in his career that he credited his wife Angie and long-time caddie, Ted Scott, with helping him overcome — only to throw Scott under the golf cart for, among other sins, handing him the wrong golf club.

And of course the unfortunate 2011 trip to Paris and the requisite song and dance that followed his faux pas at the French Open.

More recently, Watson’s self-diagnosed attention deficit disorder flared up when the jumpy and easily perturbed golfer blamed British Open fans inside the ropes, as well as media members, for his meltdown last month at Royal Liverpool.

Bubba atones after each bout of boorish behavior, as he did following last year’s Travelers Championship.

And then there was Louisville, where the tour’s longest slugger acted like a spoiled brat, at one point making the long-suffering Scott tee his ball up for him in the driving rain, and filling the airwaves with profanity.

He again took to Twitter to offer his amends, and even went so far as to thank his critics for pointing out his flaws following his long-drive pouting and ranting-in-the-rain routine.

Bubba said he was sorry again on Tuesday during his press conference to kick-off the start of the playoffs.

"If you look at the bigger picture, not competing in the 'Long Drive' was the first mistake. When you look at just me as an individual, that was the selfish part, because I didn't agree with it but there's a lot of things that I don't agree with that I do," said Watson, still not providing a rationale for his irrational comportment, but pinning the blame where it belonged.

"Then you look at it from my attitude on the golf course; because I want something so bad, that's not the reason to do that. You still just bite your tongue and compete at a high level, don't show emotion, and I take it over board because I want something so bad. I want to be considered a great player. I want to win golf tournaments and I've got to learn on that," he added. "And then my language was not good. That's a different topic, and childish again. It's all childish stuff and trying to mature and become a better man. Obviously I take it ‑‑ I take it on the chin. It was my fault.  Everything's my fault and I should be bigger and stronger and better than that."

Scott, upon whom Bubba bestowed two brand new vehicles, perhaps as recompense for the unending indignities he heaps on his looper, better hope the weather gods have blue skies and sunshine in store for this week because Watson is without a bumbershoot.

"It started raining right when we putted out [after Friday's second round at Valhalla] ... and a guy goes,‘Bubba, can I have your umbrella?’" Watson recounted. "So I just gave it to him. I was like, I'm done; you need it more than I do."

Umbrella man was appreciative, fans cheered Watson’s selfless act, and all was calm in Bubba Land. For now, anyway.

Oh, and we’re pleased to admit our own mistake in assuming Bubba would pass on Tom Watson’s Ice Bucket Challenge to him the way he did on the long-drive contest. The two-time Masters champ even enlisted his son Caleb, who adorably stood there while dad dumped a cup of water over his little blond head.

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