After Bubba Watson tapped in Sunday to win his second Masters Tournament in three years, his 2-year-old son wobbled toward the 18th green clapping his hands in imitation of the thousands surrounding the finishing hole at the Augusta National Golf Club. Watson rushed over to him, scooped him up, embraced his wife, and began to sob.
When Watson won his first green jacket on Easter Sunday two years ago, he and his wife Angie had just adopted their wavy-haired Caleb, so Mom and son stayed home. (Although Watson’s mother was there to lend a shoulder to cry on.) And that tournament was not decided in front of the clubhouse. Instead, Watson survived a nerve-racking sudden-death playoff where he whacked a trick shot off the pine straw, around a tree, and onto the green for an easy putt to win his first major.
No miracle shots were needed this time. Watson seized the lead from 20-year-old Jordan Spieth with a dramatic four-shot swing on the eighth and ninth holes and didn’t look back. By the time Watson walked up 18, he knew that not only was a second green jacket waiting for him at the top of the hill, but his wife and son were too.
“I hate to say this, because I have it on right now, but having my son means more to me than a green jacket … when we adopted him, knowing this young lady gave us a chance to raise her son,” he told reporters afterward. “So seeing him back there, what an amazing feeling as a parent.”
Watson simply overpowered the course and the rest of the field Sunday on the way to a three-shot victory over Spieth and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt.
“It’s overwhelming to win twice,” Watson said. “A small-town guy named Bubba now has two green jackets. It’s pretty wild.”
The 35-year-old golfer is well-known for his Christian faith, choking up after winning the 2012 Masters and thanking his “Lord and Savior.” He describes himself on Twitter as “Christian. Husband. Daddy. Pro Golfer.” And he stood publicly last year for ESPN analyst Chris Broussard, who received criticism for quoting the Bible on sexuality.
On Sunday, though, his parenthood took center stage. Watson’s career slipped into neutral after his 2012 Masters win, going almost two years without a victory as he adjusted to his family responsibilities. But family came first, the candid champion told reporters.
“My son being adopted, didn’t have a male figure in his life for the first month of his life; we got him at a month old,” Watson said. “So, getting used to smell, touch, feel, sound, everything. I had to be there for my son, so golf was the farthest thing from my mind. I took off some tournaments. Trying to be a good husband, a good dad, was the most important thing.”
Always an emotional player, he then told reporters why he cried again Sunday: “I’m blessed. … Why me? Why Bubba Watson from Bagdad, Fla.?”