Watson dishes on golf, career during UGA visit

Bubba Watson during the Zurich Classic.

Bubba Watson during the Zurich Classic.

ATHENS, Ga. – There was no hangover in New Orleans for Zurich winner Bubba Watson. Here Monday morning, he donated $50,000 to help start a Play Golf America program at Georgia, his alma mater.

“It’s been a wild ride; it’s been crazy. A lot of stuff has happened in a short period of time,” Watson told Golfweek, and, of course, he was speaking more broadly. He says he still hasn’t gotten over his first victory (last June, at the Travelers). He says he still hasn’t gotten over his father’s death (last fall, after the Ryder Cup). He says he still hasn’t gotten over how special it was to win the Zurich (his mother, Molly, greeted him on the 18th green).

“Wins are great,” Watson said, “but after it’s done, that’s not what life is about. It doesn’t define my career.”

Which helps explain why he was here, at the University of Georgia Golf Course. As honorary co-chairs of the Nationwide Tour’s Stadion Classic at UGA, Watson and Chip Beck – he of 59 fame – will host a breakfast Tuesday at a local country club. And, oh, the stories to tell from the Bayou. Such as the time when Bubba carved a 210-yard 7-iron out of a fairway bunker. Or when he pounded a 329-yard drive on the final hole, despite needing to carry the ball almost completely over water. Or when he poured in a double-breaking 12-footer with the tournament on the line. You know, the stuff only Bubba seems to do.

If only his college golf career at Georgia had been as spectacular. That part, he said, “sucked, (because) I didn’t play that good.” After lettering in 2000-01, he earned his degree in consumer economics in 2008. “Normally, they’re doctors after that many years,” he woofed, “but I finally graduated and proved that you can do it.”

And while we have you here, big fella, how ’bout a few questions?

What’s the silliest rule in golf?

“Slow play. We have this rule in place, but we don’t obey it. (The solution) just has to be strokes. Yesterday, I made over a million dollars. Take $20,000 from me, I’d rather get the win. I think we should stroke. I know you’d see a lot of guys playing fast.”

Who is the No. 1 player in the world?

“Luke Donald. He’s playing awesome right now. Lee Westwood has won the past two, but I think Luke and Westwood, with the back-to-back, is now 1 and 2.”

Best American player?

“Matt Kuchar. He top-10s every week he plays. He took (the Zurich) off, but he probably would have had a top 10 again. He’s always up there.”

Forgetting about anyone? Maybe that guy who has won three times in the past 11 months?

“I’m up there, top 5, maybe top 3. Some people might say I’m the best, but it’s one week. Next week, no one remembers what I did the week before.”

Very well, then.

After all, golf doesn’t define Bubba’s career.

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