Bubba Watson speaks openly about his mental health problems

by | Nov 5, 2021 | Golf Clubs

DETROIT, MI – JULY 04: Bubba Watson (USA) waves to the crowd after sinking his birdie putt on the 18th … [+] 18 during Rocket Mortgage Classic Rd4 at Detroit Golf Club on July 4, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Ken Murray / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Four years ago, Bubba Watson hit rock bottom when he stared at the screen of his bathroom scale and saw how much weight he had lost. At 162 pounds, the 6’3 golfer’s crushing body was an outward expression of the grave fear he’d wrestled with for years and which he’d held internally. The two-time Masters champion feared dying of a terminal illness, recalling his late father, who died of throat cancer and rose from 190 pounds to 92 pounds in less than a year.

“Golf killed me. I let my position on the money list, the world rankings and the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup eat on my soul, ”he writes in the opening chapter of Up and Down.

Reflecting on the lowest point in his life when negative thoughts and debilitating fears overwhelmed him while putting the book together was a cathartic experience for Bubba Watson.

“It’s strange to think about it because now I feel like I’m in a good place. Tomorrow I could be in a bad position, I don’t know yet. When I look back, I think, ‘How was I there, how did I get there,’ ”says Watson.

Opening up and talking about his mental health issues, starting with his wife, closest friends, and management team, started the recovery process for him.

“Then I felt why I shouldn’t share it with the world and try to help people in my situation,” says Watson.

Coping mechanisms that have worked well for Watson include everything from cutting chocolate cake to trying to get more sleep, exercising at least three times a week, and making sure he stays hydrated. Taking ten seconds to breathe in only in moments when he feels his stress level rise is also a positive psychological balm.

“So there are some important things that I have tried to put into practice now, and my wife is there to help me make sure I do these things and that we are able to manage them. It will show up at some point in my life if I get astray, but hopefully we’ll make it now and stop before I get back to this dark place, ”adds Watson.

Bubba Watson’s memoir, Up & Down: Victories and Struggles in the Course of Life.

Thomas Nelson

It’s been three years since the shot-shaping maestro’s last Tour win, but things are looking good for Bubba. Late last year, Watson signed a “lifelong” contract extension with Ping, whose club he has wielded since his divot derby matchdays while wearing Payne Stewart-esque panties. Last February, he became an investor and brand ambassador for the Linksoul clothing brand.

“I love John Ashworth and what he’s been producing over the years since the late 1980s, so it was a no-brainer for me. It wasn’t about making money upfront, it was about longevity and I like working with people who I can be with for a long, long time. They make cool but more adult clothes so it was an easy fit for me. I just had to make sure they agreed, ”says Watson of the deal.

Bubba has long been a pioneer in the Pensacola area, which he believes is home to the whitest sandy beaches in the world. Watson’s business interests in the westernmost town on the Florida Panhandle include a driving range, candy and shovel store, and a Chevy dealer in nearby Milton. He is also a co-owner of the Blue Wahoos, the Double-A subsidiary of the Miami Marlins.

Investing in companies with which he has a deep personal connection has been the Bubba way for years. So if Tanglewood Golf and Country Club, the course he grew up on to hone his hook-shot skills, ever hits the market, he’d have to seriously think about making an offer.

“I’d love to do it someday, but the thing is, I’m not really good at mowing grass and finding someone who knows how to maintain a golf course,” jokes Watson.

“If that were available I would like to sit down and really focus on it and see if I could do something because this is my home, that’s where I started. When I think about it, if I can, I would make sure this place is always on because it is close to my heart, ”he adds.

TOLEDO, OH – SEPTEMBER 06: Bubba Watson dances on the first tee during the Solheim Cup in September … [+] June 2021 at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. (Photo by Brian Spurlock / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Watson has teased in the past that a mayoral campaign might be on the horizon, but he’d have to get his family on board first and even then the office prosecution would likely wait until he stopped brandishing a bat.

“Yes, I always thought of running. Thinking is one thing, saying my name is another, ”says Watson.

“My wife vetoed this. You’d think she’s the mayor because she immediately vetoed it. The more I’ve been into it, the more I’ve learned. All I have to do now is deal with the city of Pensacola with some of the things we do – our driving range is on the airport grounds – there are a lot of things that I have done. I don’t know what I’m learning about. So it would be years and a lot of work if I made that decision, ”he adds.

At the moment, Watson is looking for a new caddy after breaking up amicably with Ted Scott, who was in his pocket for all 12 PGA Tour victories. The game plan is to simply try out multiple candidates and see who works best.

“You have to do that. If you play well one week you can say, “Fine, I think this is my type,” but then the next week you learn about her and say, “This is not our type,” says Watson.