He is one of the greatest names in golf – Bubba Watson. This two-time Masters champion is known for his long drives and exciting personality. In his new book Up & Down, Bubba discusses the balance between celebrity, family life, and trying to imperfectly answer God’s call.
Bubba says, “That’s why I wanted to come out with the book to share and share that we all have problems. And when you say you don’t, you really do. Right? “
As well as being a golfer, Bubba owns an ice cream parlor, car dealership, driving range and is even a partner in a minor league baseball team.
Will Dawson: Let’s start with your love of baseball. You wanted to be a major league baseball pitcher.
Bubba: Yeah, it started with my father being a Yankees fan. Don Mattingly was the first baseman, left handed and I was left handed. So I wanted to be like Don Mattingly, Mr. Baseball. But I also wanted to pitch. Golf started a few years later.
He grew up in the small town of Baghdad, Florida. It was clear early on that Bubba had a talent for golf.
“I started playing tournament golf when I was eight,” says Bubba. “I started hitting everyone. People started talking to my family about how far I could get. You know, no lessons. As it grew, when I was around twelve, you could definitely see that my skill level was different from other people. That’s when it started, the buzzing in my head: ‘Wait. I have a chance. I can be pretty good at it. ‘”
Bubba accepted a golf scholarship to the University of Georgia. There he met his current wife, Angie, who had a direct influence on his desire to follow God.
“We started talking about church,” says Bubba. “She grew up in church and who she wanted to be, and she asked me about my beliefs. I told her it was very little. I told her one day I was asked to go to church, I went to that Devoted to sir, but then that was it. The seed was planted. I said the right things, but I didn’t really water it and when I got to Georgia and met her it really opened up. And I’m still growing in it, But it’s been an amazing journey and the rest is history. 20 years later we’re still together. “
During those twenty years the Watsons went through some difficult times, including an inability to father a child.
Bubba says, “When your wife looks at you and says, ‘Why can’t I be a mother?’ And that’s hard to answer. And again, God’s timing is much better. “
In “God’s Timing” in 2012, the couple adopted a little boy named Caleb and immediately knew he was a gift from God.
Bubba recalls: “The lady asked, the first thing she asked was, ‘Are you going to change his name?’ And man, you’re talking about trying to get words out of your mouth, I said, ‘No!’ She said, I think his name … it’s a great story in the Bible. And I said, ‘Yes ma’am!’ I said, ‘I would never change his name because of the blessings you give us.’ “
Just two weeks later, after becoming a father, Bubba won arguably the most prestigious tournament in golf … the Masters.
From an outsider’s point of view, Bubba Watson had it all. He had won the Masters in 2012, he had a growing family and a loving fan base. But the pressure was only just beginning to build up beneath the surface.
Severe anxiety attacks caused Bubba to become withdrawn and anxious. He even lost thirty pounds.
Will Dawson: You thought you were going to die.
Bubba: Yeah. I felt it could easily be because of that. I look at the scales and I’m 162 and I just fall on my knees and howl and say, ‘Take me. I don’t want to go through this. ‘ Praying: ‘Just take me. What should I do? What should I do with my life? ‘ I thought, ‘I’m going to quit golfing. If that makes me like this, then I’m done golf. I’d rather be physically healthy than outside. ‘ Somehow that got me thinking about when God appears to me and says you have ten minutes … Any of this?
Bubba grows in his relationship with God even in moments he says he is not proud of.
“There is one special moment I can remember when I said some choice words and got caught on camera and my team quickly beat me,” he says. “And I went to the media center and they asked me right away. They said, ‘Your language. You call yourself a Christian.’ I said, “I want to thank you. I want to thank you because that’s how I get better. If you don’t call me I can’t get any better. “We’re all going to have moments. In younger days I wouldn’t have done it that way. But since ’10 when I won and onwards and more wins after that, it just means that I’m being put on a bigger pedestal, a bigger spotlight where I have to be ready to face my bad moments in a different way. “
Will Dawson: The Bible speaks of iron sharpening, and it sounds like you had a really good team around, and that’s important in the Christian life too.
Bubba: Oh, 100 percent! Again, I praise my wife all the time. Without meeting her, it wouldn’t have spurred me on to take me back to where I should be. Then the close team around me and my close friends. The different pastors I was able to meet. You managed to give me wisdom. Now it takes me a while to learn this wisdom, but it is growing.
Will Dawson: You have been very generous with your time and money. Why is this important to you?
Bubba: When you start listening and learning about the gospel, learning about the Bible, you want to give something back. On my deathbed, I don’t want my kids to stand on the podium looking like he was a two-time master. If you say that, I’ve already missed it. I missed everything I should do. I’ve been blessed so much, why not bless other people?