PGA Championship: A year of firsts for Watson
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. - Bubba Watson won his first major earlier this year. Watson also became a first-time parent, with the adoption of his son becoming official on Monday.
But he doesn't expect his life to get any easier, both with his career and off the course.
On the course, he says that one man is responsible for making his career tougher by simply elevating the level of competition at golf tournaments: Tiger Woods.
"Tiger Woods has made the game grow. He's grown this game across the world," said Watson, making his sixth PGA Championship appearance at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course this week.
"People are watching him. People are watching how he practiced, how he trained, how he made golf a physical game. He's strong. He's a big man, and he plays golf with - he can play it with power and he can play it with precision. He can play it with a mental game, and everybody has taken note of that. You've got young guys, Patrick Cantlay, Rickie Fowler, (Rory) McIlroy, all these young guys coming up. (Ryo) Ishikawa coming up, all these young guys that are watching and learning from him."
Watson also learned a lot about himself with his victory at Augusta National, allowing him to change his mental and physical preparation for the year's biggest tournaments.
"I can do it. It is possible to win," Watson said. "Coming down on Sundays, I know I can lean on that saying that I've done it before, I can do it again.
"But preparation, every golf tournament is the same. See the golf course, feel out the golf course, see how you want to attack it. At the U.S. Open, by watching Phil (Mickelson) and Tiger, how they attacked that golf course and prepared for that golf course, I learned some things. Not saying it's going to happen overnight, but I'm going to learn."
Watson, who can wear his emotions on his care-free sleeves, says that one thing he has learned about winning is that he has to take the good with the bad.
"I think it's all about the mental, staying focused on the golf course," Watson said. "This golf course, a major championship can always get you at any time, so you have to be prepared for that, and you have to be strong, knowing that you're going to make mistakes. You have to try to brush them off and keep going."
But, with his well-publicized adoption that occurred only days before winning the Masters, Watson is more concerned with the person he is off the course nowadays.
"Hopefully I'll do better in the family man than the golf, because that's the most important. My wife comes first, and then the baby, and then golf is down the list."