T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
Watson wants to be held accountable for actions at PGA Championship
Series: Golf Buzz
Published: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | 9:59 a.m.
Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson drew plenty of criticism for something he didn't do at the PGA Championship two weeks ago and a few of things he did do.
First, the thing he didn't do. He chose not to take part in the PGA Championship's revitalized long-drive competition that was held during the Tuesday practice round on the par-5 10th hole at Valhalla.
Watson -- the longest hitter in the game -- protested the competition by electing to hit an iron off the tee instead of the driver he would use in competition.
As for the things he did do, well, that boiled down to Watson's attitude on the course.
A couple of tantrums that included audible curses, complaints about rain water collecting on his clubface, which he says influenced shots and also having caddie Ted Scott place a tee in the ground for him so Watson could stay under his umbrella.
Watson was taken to task by many, but none more so than veteran journalist Dave Kindred in this piece for Golf Digest.
The day after Kindred's sharply critical column, he met face-to-face with Watson to explain what he'd written. Rather than get upset, Watson took the criticism to heart and thanked Kindred, saying, "I need to be held accountable."
Watson reiterated that point with writers at The Barclays on Tuesday.
In a piece filed by GolfChannel.com's Jason Sobel, Watson talked about the fallout from his actions at the PGA Championship:
"Not competing in the Long Drive was the first mistake," Watson said. "That was the selfish part, because I didn’t agree with it, but there's a lot of things that I don't agree with that I do."
"Then you look at it from my attitude on the golf course. Because I want something so bad, that's not the reason to do that. You still just bite your tongue and compete at a high level, don't show emotion. I take it overboard because I want something so bad. I want to be considered a great player. I want to win golf tournaments and I've got to learn on that.
"And then my language was not good. That's a different topic and childish again. It's all childish stuff and trying to mature and become a better man. Obviously, I take it on the chin. It was my fault. Everything's my fault and I should be bigger and stronger and better than that."
In Sobel's piece, Watson explained that he did do something right at the PGA Championship, aside from making the cut. After finishing his final round, the rain picked up significantly at Valhalla. A fan asked Watson if he could have his umbrella.
"I was like, 'you know what, that's a good question.' So I just gave it to him. I was like, 'I'm done. You need it more than I do.'"
And that wasn't it for the post-PGA Championship good deeds. Watson's on-course treatment of his caddie has also drawn criticism over the years. To his credit, Scott seems to understand Watson better than most. Watson clearly recognizes that and surprised Scott and his wife with a nice bonus for a successful year.
Scott tweeted out the gifts this week:
— ted scott (@jtedscott) August 17, 2014