AUGUSTA, Georgia, April 9 – New Masters champion Bubba Watson is a new dad who doesn’t know how to change a diaper, and he’s hoping that his first major title and a $1.44 million top prize might delay any lessons.
Watson parred the second sudden-death playoff hole on Sunday to defeat South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and win the 76th Masters. Exactly 35 years after Tom Watson won at Augusta National, there’s a new Watson wearing a green jacket.
The long-hitting 33-year-old US left-hander became a father two weeks ago when he and his wife Angie, who is unable to have children, adopted a one-month-old baby boy named Caleb.
“I haven’t changed a diaper yet so probably going to have to change a diaper pretty soon,” Watson said. “I don’t want to change a diaper. Hopefully this will give me a week or two to just watch her again. Maybe not, though.”
Thoughts of his new son and his late father Gerry, who died of throat cancer in 2010, had Watson in tears on Easter Sunday, especially when embracing his mother Molly on the 10th green after the winning putt was in the hole.
“My dad’s not here, but he’s watching in heaven,” Watson said.
Watson said that after a botched tee shot on the deciding playoff hole and an amazing recovery lob shot to set up two putts for the title, his dad would have a few things to tell him.
“He would say, ‘You still need to practice. You missed that fairway. You were under the trees a couple of times. You missed the first putt,’” Watson said. “No, he would be excited, just like my mom was excited.
“We didn’t have any words, we just cried in each other’s arms.”
Before he tapped in for the victory, Watson thought of South Korean I.K. Kim’s one-foot putt miss to cost her an LPGA major title at the Kraft Nabisco Championship a week ago.
“I hate to say this but the young lady who missed the putt at the ladies major, that putt, I thought about it,” Watson said.
“I wanted to make sure I focused hard on that putt, because I knew how delicate these situations are and how this may never happen again.”
Watson tried to put the long-sought major title in perspective quickly.
“Golf is not my everything,” Watson said. “I’m not going to go home and pout if I would have lost. I’d think about the great times I had.
“Tomorrow there’s going to be a new tournament and y’all are going to write about other people. Y’all are going to forget about me tomorrow. I’m going to have to keep living my life and do everything.
“But for me to come out here and win, it’s awesome for a week and then get back to real life.
“Major champion. I think I’m done. I can’t get any better than this.”
For Watson, that means dealing with realities like finalizing adoption paperwork that prevented the baby from leaving the state of Florida, keeping mom and son at their Isleworth home near Orlando.
“She just sends me little pictures here and there of what he’s doing,” said Watson. “Yesterday she said my interview was good and she said, ‘Your son really liked it and he was staring at the TV.’”
The adoption process took four years and finished as Watson was finishing fourth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill two weeks ago.
“Got turned down a couple times,” he said. “Monday at Bay Hill we got turned down, which was heartbreaking, watching my wife. And then Tuesday, we got the great news.
“Tuesday of Bay Hill we got a call. Wednesday of Bay Hill we made the decision. And Monday after Bay Hill we were down in South Florida, picking up little Caleb.
“I can’t wait to get back.”
People are already looking forward to his Masters return in 2013, including Tiger Woods, who sent a congratulatory Twitter message.
“Congrats @bubbawatson. Fantastic creativity. Now how creative will the champions dinner be next year?” Woods said.
If it’s like his “Bubba golf” style, expect something exciting for the Champions Dinner. And fun.
“I always attack,” Watson said. “I don’t like to go to the center of the greens. I want to hit the incredible shot. Who doesn’t? That’s why we play the game of golf, to pull off the amazing shot.
“I just play golf, fun-loving Bubba, just try to have fun and goof around.”