x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

After embarrassment at PGA Championship, Bubba Watson is not singing in the rain

Even though he has been caught by television microphones numerous times criticising and complaining to his long-suffering caddie, Ted Scott, Watson set a new low for childish, churlish stunts at the PGA, writes Steve Elling.

Bubba Watson was not in the best mood during the second round of the PGA Championship and everyone heard about it. David Cannon / Getty Images
Bubba Watson was not in the best mood during the second round of the PGA Championship and everyone heard about it. David Cannon / Getty Images

Bubba Watson slogged off the course at the PGA Championship after his second round two weeks ago, feeling both beaten and bowed, when he heard an unusual request from the gallery.

It is commonplace for fans to brazenly ask players for golf balls, gloves or hats. In fact, players are asked for everything but their American Express card.

Read more: Darkness is slowly falling on the once colourful Tiger Woods

But this was a new question and it made Watson, the two-time Masters champion, pull up short.

It was raining and the man wanted Watson’s umbrella, which had figuratively played a pivotal role in the day already.

“So I just gave it to him,” Watson said this week. “I was like, ‘I’m done, you need it more than I do. You’ve got to go follow the leaders around instead of us’. So I gave my umbrella away.”

Big mistake. The deluge – in the guise of him being lambasted for his petulant behaviour during his round – had only just begun.

Watson, placed in a marquee group at the PGA with the two other 2014 major winners, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy, behaved so badly, he has been back-pedaling ever since.

He continued to apologise this week at the first event in the PGA Tour’s lucrative FedEx Cup series.

“You’ve got to learn from your mistakes,” Watson said on Tuesday. “You learn from being selfish instead of looking at the bigger picture in life.”

He will be reviewing the small snapshots of his behaviour in the second round at the PGA, that is for certain.

Even though he has been caught by television microphones numerous times criticising and complaining to his long-suffering caddie, Ted Scott, Watson set a new low for childish, churlish stunts at the PGA.

A professed devout Christian, Watson was heard making shockingly profane remarks during the broadcast. He complained incessantly about the rain, like he was the only player forced to perform in the downpour. From an image standpoint, the worst part came when he ordered Scott to place his ball on the tee for him as Watson – the 2012 and 2014 winner at Augusta National – stayed dry under his umbrella, like royalty.

Watson, hardly a kid at 35, was universally savaged.

“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,” Watson said.

Fans have heard variations of this tune before from the volatile American left-hander, who did better than many in the tournament, including Kaymer, as he made the cut and finished tied 65th on three over, 19 strokes behind winner McIlroy.

“I take it overboard because I want something so bad,” he said. “I want to be considered a great player. It’s all childish stuff, and trying to mature and become a better man.

“I take it on the chin. It was my fault.”

On that point, everyone was in complete agreement.

European Tour in review

Scotland’s Marc Warren shot a 3-under 68 in the final round to hold off playing partner Bradley Dredge by two shots at the inaugural Made in Denmark Open.

Warren recorded his third European Tour victory, but his first since 2007, ending a 190-tournament winless streak.

Warren moved up 21 spots to No 68 in the world ranking, leaving him on the cusp of qualifying for several World Golf Championships events during the next few months.

PGA Tour in review

Colombia’s Camilo Villegas, 32, seemingly set to become a megastar five years ago, won for the first time in more than four seasons at the second-tier Wyndham Championship in North Carolina.

Villegas, who once was ranked seventh in the world and secured a series of lucrative endorsement deals, lost his card two years ago after skidding to 144th in US earnings.

He was ranked 245th in the world entering last week.

Czech Masters Preview

Where: Albatross Golf Resort, Prague, Czech Republic (7,466 yards, par 72)

When: Thursday through Sunday

Prize Money: €1,000,000 (Dh4.9m)

Defending champion: Inaugural event

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