We kind of hate Bubba Watson over here at CLICKON Golf. We can’t stop knocking him for his latest tantrums, his overt rudeness to anyone who just wants to say hi and his astonishing lack of culture (no, the Eiffel Tower isn’t “that big tower”, Bubba). We aren’t the only ones either, seeing as he was booed off the course at the Waste Management Open. You’d think such a personality could hardly be concerned about what us plebes think about him, but it appears that Bubba isn’t as immune to our displeasure as you’d think.
He was pricked enough by the criticism from the Waste Management fiasco to do some intense self-reflection and he has a surprising confession to make in this interview on 60 Minutes.
“I have a lot of mental issues that I just am so fearful of things, which I shouldn’t be, right? Scared of heights. Scared of buildings falling on me. Scared of the dark. Scared of crowds. Those are my biggest issues.
“In between holes – is really scary to me – because there’s so many people that close to you… I’m just scared of people. It’s just – in general.”
Excuses, excuses, right? Not so much. Ted Scott, one of the caddies he’s constantly abusing, thinks we should all cut him a bit of slack.
“What I quickly found out was that Bubba was very uncomfortable in social situations. It’s difficult for him to make eye contact with people he doesn’t know. He told me he has a fear of crowds. And when we’re fearful, we do things we shouldn’t. All the ignoring of people, the abrasiveness, the overreacting, the aggressive joking were all defense mechanisms of being afraid of letting people know who you are.”
We don’t ever believe disrespect is justifiable, but these revelations about our favorite controversial player do give us some pause in casting stones. It’s clear that to some degree, Bubba Watson is incapable of conducting himself around company as most of us can. Whether this is because he is truly overcome by anxiety or unable to gauge how inappropriate he’s being, it’s clear that there are indeed some deep psychological issues at hand.
It’s never easy for anyone to handle fame, let alone someone who has immense trouble with relating to other people. Being such a solitary sport, golf doesn’t necessarily train you to be socially at ease in front of a camera. We can totally see Bubba Watson as golf’s greatest example of a savant, impeccable at one he does but ill at ease and boorish outside of that realm.
His lack of graciousness in public may alienate in person, but when he gets candid about why he just can’t seem to get it together socially, we feel much more connected to him. We’re sure that the anxious among us will be nodding their heads at what a nightmare it would be to wade through endless crowds pestering you for a smile. We know that there are some of us on the CLICKON team who would feel like cornered animals in such a scenario and lash out accordingly. Bubba’s many irrational fears are what make him most human to us and we are definitely impressed by the courage it must have took to reveal them to the world, especially if he’s as terrified of letting us know who he is as his caddie says he is.
If the underlings receiving the brunt of his bad behavior are defending him, clearly the man has some redeeming qualities away from the public eye. This quote from Ted Scott paints us a drastically different side to Watson that surfaces when you’re paying the least amount of attention.
“Whew, man, he is a mess… but he’s a fun mess, you know? I think Bubba is an extremely emotional person, but 95 percent of the time that’s happiness.”
Hey, if that’s the kind of mess he really is, we kind of want some of that dysfunction.